6:00 a.m. I hadn’t…

6:00 a.m. I hadn't planned to be up quite this early, but Kevin came over around 5 a.m. (when he was going to bed), and I couldn't get back to sleep. So I got up. I did sleep 6 hours or so...

Lovely having him here, of course, but it does mean that I need to be a bit quieter than usual. Living alone is odd. I didn't expect to like it at all, and I do miss having a partner around, but a) it's not as hard to manage things (like changing high lightbulbs or putting covers back on futons) as I thought, and b) there are actually some really nice aspects to it. Like being able to be noisy in the early morning. :-) Not thinking twice about how grubby I might look. (See, aren't you glad I don't have a net.cam up? :-) You'd think after eight years, I would be as grubby as I felt like in front of him, and occasionally I am, but mostly I'm not. It just feels more civilized to be clean and presentable when there are other people around...but it's nice to be barbarically grubby every once in a while too. That's one of the things I like about camping -- going three days without worrying about showers. And then it's so nice to come back to civilization and get really clean...

There's two things I'd like to do that are noisy. One: my dishes. But that can wait without too much grief on my part. Two: practice. Practice? Are those looks of shock on your faces? I wouldn't blame you -- I don't think I've mentioned music in months. But Saturday I practiced the recorder for a bit, and yesterday I actually practiced recorder and guitar. If I find some flute music, then I'll have three instruments to practice every morning, and wouldn't that be nice? I was looking over some old journal entries and realized that playing music used to be a much bigger part of my life, and that I missed it. The tips of my fingers are a bit numb today from the guitar strings, and I know when I start flute again my mouth will be sore...but I do hate the thought of letting all those years of practice go to waste. Someday I'm going to own a house with a piano, and then I'll be happy. :-)

You know...when I was about ten (and had been playing piano for 4 years), my piano teacher sat me down and said -- "Mary Anne, you might be able to be a concert pianist if you really wanted to." And I said, "Really?" This sounded like a pretty cool idea at the time; I was practicing about an hour a day, and kind of enjoying it. And he said, "Maybe -- but you'd have to start taking this seriously. You'd need to practice six to twelve hours every day..." And I laughed and laughed... I knew there was no way I would ever work at anything more than I had to...no way in the world that I'd want to work at anything for more than the eight hours a day that the real world would eventually require of me...

And here I am. Doing the work (often doing sixteen-hour days, working every day, pretty much), and loving it. I was never meant to be a pianist (I eventually did make it to two hours a day of practice, but that was my limit, and let us quickly pass over all the time I spent running scales with one hand and propping up a novel to read with the other)...but who knew I had this in me? Not me...

Have I mentioned that I love my job? (Which job? All the jobs -- teaching, writing, editing, running a magazine...)

I love my job.

May Day! Happy May…

May Day!

Happy May Day, everyone! I hope you did something with flowers today. :-)

I have to admit, I spent 8 hours playing Caesar. Oof. But after that I went to Borders and worked; finished another draft of "Silence and the Word". I've done so many versions of this essay that I have no idea if it's gotten any better with this revision -- but it's different. That's something, anyway.

Sorry for the service interrupt earlier today; misunderstanding with my ISP. Should be sorted out completely soon; don't panic if it goes down again for a bit tomorrow.

*yawn* Sleepy Mary Anne. Going to bed. Tomorrow, the grading; I pay the price for Caesar today. But that's okay...it was worth it. You should see my beautiful city... :-)

Hey, munchkins. How’re…

Hey, munchkins. How're you doing? I'm drowning in tech stuff, but in a good way....

So as I said, I've registered www.mamohanraj.com. I'm in the process of learning how to move everything over there (I found an ISP, pair.com, that looks like it'll work well (and cheaply) for web hosting; it doesn't do dial-up, but I don't need that). Lots of reminding myself of arcane unix compands (like tar -cvf). Lots of help from Jed and Kevin. I think I have it down now, so I'm just waiting for pair to get the registration of mamohanraj from register.com (Shmuel told me that I could have registered for $15 instead of $35, but too little, too late :-) No, I'll probably want to do that when I renew next year, so it's still helpful...).

I can't tell you how nice it'll be to have a permanent address and e-mail; to know that people will always be able to find me, and that I'll never again have to go around the net telling people to update their links. When this is done, it'll be a load off my mind.

In the process, I plan to also fix a bunch of things about my pages; there are wrong colors on some of them, and broken links (especially to my e-mail). And this diary is really *not* in the most optimal set-up, so I'm going to ask Columbine to send over some perl scripts...Jed offered to write some, but if he can just use Columbine's to help me, that makes more sense than writing from scratch. When we're done, this journal should be much easier to read; though I'll probably just eliminate the monthly files. I'll look just like all those other journals.... :-) We'll see.

I dunno; there's a lot of stuff I've just been putting up with for a long time, and I'm tired of dealing with it. They all drain energy in small and subtle ways, and it just feels like I might as well put in the time to do it right once and for all. Of course, that's easier to do when you *have* time. I expect that once I start grad school in the fall, I'll be pretty darn busy again for quite a while. So I have from now 'til September to get all the old projects sorted out and in place. Should be do-able; I'm really only doing a few major things this summer:

  • teaching two classes (I'm done for the day at 9:30 a.m. MWF!)
  • continuing to work on CS
  • starting the new secret project (yes, I'll be telling you about it very very soon now)
  • writing some more stories, hopefully
  • incorporation and grant research
  • maybe doing a CD
  • probably moving
  • reading lots of books! :-)
Put like that, it sounds like a lot, but I'll have most of every day free to do it. I'll be pretty poor for the second half of the summer, but I think it'll be worth being broke for a while in order to have the time to do these things. My friends are going to have to get used to calling me again; the long-distance bill is one of the things that needs to be whittled down. But luckily, most of them are pretty comfortably well-off. :-) Not like the old days, when we were all poor together.

My back is starting to hurt again, so I'd best get off the computer. I think I might actually start my grading; I'm still not in an appropriate mood to try to do that essay. Maybe later this evening, or early this week. I promised it to Lee by Thursday (when I leave town). I don't really have anything else to do between now and then -- the essay and grading, grading and the essay. I can do that, right?

Still collecting responses on the CD, so please go back to yesterday and vote if you haven't yet. Though it looks like there's enough interest that I should probably move to the next stage -- finding out how expensive it would be, where the best place is to record it, etc... Cost-benefit analyses; what fun! :-)

One note -- someone asked for a sound sample; said it would be easier to decide if they knew what I sounded like. So I recorded a short poem (I did some longer stuff too, but I'm having a hard time moving it over due to ftp difficulties), and you can find it here - just click on the audio link. This may not stay up for long; it eats up disk space.

Have a good week, dears.

8:15 p.m. Well, Shmuel reminded me that there are already some audio files up, in the poems from '96, and lots smaller (from .9 MB to 1.9 MB) than the 14 MB monster I uploaded today. So unless you're on a fast connection, if you wanna hear my voice, you should go there. I did try downloading a converter to RealAudio, but after about 45 minutes of futzing I still couldn't figure out how to make it work. If anyone wants to volunteer to convert audio files for me, please let me know. I recorded "A Jewel of a Woman", but at 44.3 MB, it's appallingly large.

I didn't do any grading (of course); instead I finished reading David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars, which is a beautiful book. It is honest and true about the way people sometimes are, which is something I think essential to a good novel; beyond that, it has a patience for description that I really envy -- I get so eager to tell the story (and to finish the work of writing) that I often skimp on many things, description especially. (Hmm...I don't think anyone's ever told me that one of my stories should be shorter -- you'd think I would learn something from that...).

I also thought it was fascinating the way it dealt with interracial relationships; I had to work a little to not get too caught up in it, to not start thinking that maybe Hatsue had it right, that maybe all of my romantic confusion was simply that I hadn't found a person who was right for me....but that idea only lasted for a few pages, so I think it was just a case of me being caught up in the internal logic of the character. Sometimes I think I empathize too much with characters. It's probably a good thing that I don't read horror novels with serial killer protagonists.

I'm not quite sure what to do with myself now; I'm too tired to want to work, but I somehow slept 'til 12:30 today(!) so it's much too early to go to sleep. I've only been up half a day at this point. I'll probably start another book, though I don't think I have anything that I strongly want to read. I'm in the midst of re-reading John Gardner's The Art of Fiction, but that's something I have to take in small doses. Good, but requires an awake mind.

Well, we'll see. In any case, I'm having a good day. The weather is beautiful, and that combined with good reading (and good work earlier) is making my heart feel very restful, at peace with itself and the world. It's nice.

First note is that the…

First note is that the EROS Workshop is down. I've set up a new list at: http://www.onelist.com/group/erosworkshop. If you're a member of the workshop, please go there and sign up; we'll figure out what to do from there. It's a nuisance, but might actually be better for the list in the long run.

Other changes -- I've bought www.mamohanraj.com. Now I just need to figure out what to do with it. :-) I assume I just find a local ISP, sign up with them, and then get them to host that? I feel very ignorant here. But I'd like to move all my pages over to there in the next month or two. Lanminds has been blocking a fair bit of mail from adult sites (part of their automatic spam filter), which is a fair nuisance when Jane or others want to write to me, so I really need to move elsewhere -- and I'd like to make one final move, get listed properly everywhere, and never have my readers worry about finding me again. Help?

I'm going to call the poll results final now, though I expect a few more responses will trickle in. So, at 92 votes, that's about 3 times as many readers as I thought I had! Meep. I know there are journals with readers in the thousands, so I'm not sure why this feels like a lot, but it does. Maybe it's 'cause I've only heard from about 15 of you. I thought there were about 15 lurkers...instead there are closer to 80! But welcome, anyway. You don't have to write to me if you don't want to. :-)

The readers are predominantly male, which doesn't surprise me, but I am glad that a solid third of them are female. It's not that I don't like males -- I do! Truly! But balance is a good thing. And we have three who voted 'other' -- I'm not sure if those are transgender people, mistaken votes, or just people trying to mess with the results, but in any case, it's interesting. (If those three people wanted to write and tell me which they were, I'd be very curious. But that's entirely up to you, of course.)

The age poll was similarly interesting. The one 0-10 was an error (bad Shmuel! :-). But I note that I have three teenagers; meep. Hope you're enjoying the journal, and I'll just hope you're in the 18-20 section of the range, and not the 11-13. :-) The majority of readers are in my age group, the 21-30's (29 of you), but the 30-something's run very close behind (28 of you). That's the bulk of my readers right there, which isn't really surprising. Then the groups drop off, with 14 40-something's, 6 50-something's, and 2 60-something's. Welcome, all. And a very special welcome to our single 70-something; I'm honored to have you here. I'm a bit surprised that the ramblings of a 28-year-old doesn't bore you to tears, but welcome in any case.

I've found the poll really interesting; I hope you guys have too. I'm tempted to post a poll question asking you if you did. :-) But I actually have a real question I want to ask you, so I'll ask that instead...two, actually.

You probably thought I'd forgotten all about this CD thing...

Journal Readers - CD Poll

Would you buy a CD of me reading my stories and poetry?

Yes - stories only
Yes - poetry only
Yes - mix of stories and poetry
Sorry, no.

Current Results
Journal Readers - CD Cost

How much would you pay for such a CD? (I'm not sure how much they'll cost to make.)

$5 - $10
$10 - $15
$15 - $20

Current Results
Thanks for voting! This'll help me decide whether to do it or not, and in what format.

More later, probably. Now I need to go do some work...have a good weekend, my dears.

2:00 p.m. Well, I've spent hours at the computer; my back hurts, the tendons in my arm hurts, and I'm going to take a good long break now -- but did I do what I was supposed to do today, a final stab at a revision of "Silence and the Word"? Of course not. Instead I did a whole bunch CS stuff (still good), and a whole bunch of messing with my pages (not nearly as good). Had fun, and I *think* both the stories page and the publishing credits page look much better (and are finally updated), but really, it probably could have waited until after more urgent things were done. Ah well...

Gonna go eat some lunch, read for a couple hours, and then really try to nail down that essay. It starts out strong, but peters out at the end...

Okay, it’s actually…

Okay, it's actually really late Thursday, but that entry was pretty long, so let's pretend, eh? I wanted to give you guys a story; this came out of tonight's writing exercise -- one page story based on science. Anything to do with science. I may post again later on actual Friday; I want to go over the poll results sometime soon.

Third Week of Classes, Freshman Year

We are reading about biotechnology in composition class, reading about DNA and gene therapy, and Thursday we write a paper on the ethics of biotech, should we shouldn't we and where to draw the lines. We are talking about Tay Sachs about cystic fibrosis about sickle cell anemia; we are talking about sick adults and dying babies; we are wondering what we will do in five years or ten; will we take a cure for our babies or let them grow up with this disease or that disease. Almost everyone agrees that it's okay to use this new science on cancer on AIDS on a serious life-threatening disease.

John speaks up and says that God sends us trials, that they are meant to test us and we can't understand his ways. The teacher asks if we should give up all medicine entirely; isn't that interfering with God's plan too? John is quiet and maybe the teacher thinks she's convinced him, but I know better. He is thinking that it's not the same, that there's a big difference between taking some cough medicine and letting some crazy scientist cut up your dna and splice it back together in weird ways; that would be interfering with God's plan. John thinks a lot about God's plan, about doing what God wants him to do. He tries hard to be a good man, and a good Christian. He's a good husband.

My mother said I shouldn't get married so young. She wanted me to wait until I finished college but I said why wait? John's a year older than me; he'd http://quotecorner.com/online-pharmacy.html been in college already for a year, and there were all those college girls. I figured that I was just lucky that he still loved me like crazy and wanted to marry me, so we got married in June, and it was the prettiest wedding I've ever seen, with the roses blooming and my bridesmaids in dresses cut in different styles, in every shade of blue. My mother wanted them all to dress exactly alike, in dresses with big puffy sleeves, in pink or yellow, but I said no; I wanted them to look beautiful, as beautiful as they could. Rebekah would have looked sickly in yellow.

I've never gotten sick in my life, so when I first started getting nauseated every morning, I knew what it had to be. We didn't plan on having a baby so soon, but we did want kids, lots of smart, beautiful kids. And after a few months I stopped getting sick, and I was still a little tired, but I started college just fine in September and I'm keeping up with my reading and homework and the last few days I've actually felt healthier and stronger than I ever have in my life. Which is why what the doctor said was such a shock.

What about Downs'? the teacher asks. And I can tell by the faces in the room, by their tight foreheads and pursed lips, I can tell that they think they would never choose to retro-engineer a baby or a fetus with Downs'. They think they'd have the child and raise it with care and love it and give up their lives to take care of it, they'd do whatever they need to for this special gift of God, who has so much to teach us. The teacher is disappointed but goes on; why shouldn't she? It's an academic question, and there's a lot to cover in the next few months, a lot of ground that can't ever be made up once you've fallen behind.

I’m feeling better;…

I'm feeling better; thanks for the concern. I talked to various people, including some staff members, who gave me much-needed reality checks. They agreed with my assessment of the situation, which was really reassuring; I had been feeling as if I were the only one bothered by this stuff, and wondering if there was something really wrong with my perceptions. It's much easier for me to be firm and concrete in my decisions if I know I can trust my judgement on them.

One thing that has been clear in all this is that some of my staff is burning out. We're going to be looking for a fiction intern for Clean Sheets, who will probably do a lot of grunt work at first, but eventually would be doing interesting stuff, and might be promoted into fiction editor if they're interested. If you're interested, a more formal call will be posted to the CS newsletter list when we figure out the details. A similar post may open up in poetry.

The rest of yesterday was actually really lovely. The weather has turned so beautiful -- clear and sunny and 70 degrees. As I walked to work yesterday morning, I developed what I think will be the next two(!) stories in the Sri Lankan cycle. I had thought they would be just one, but I realized that I really need two stories, 'cause there are two serious events that need to be explored. The first one is almost entirely plotted; it draws on events from the troubles in '83 (that's what they're called -- 'troubles'. Never mind that thousands of civilians died....) and I need to call Roshani and get some more details out of her; she lived through it. The second is much vaguer right now...

Last classes went well, and now we start final grading. I need to be done by Thursday, since I'll be in the Bay Area from 5/4 - 5/14. I don't think it'll take that much time, though...I'm not really planning any crash days of grading right now, though next Wednesday might turn out to be one. :-) I'm going to miss some of my students -- I had some really great ones this semester. Hopefully they'll show up in some of my later classes. I'm teaching only two classes this summer, of business/tech writing. It's going to be very odd being done for the day at 9:30 a.m.

And yesterday evening, we had a really wonderful dinner party. Alex couldn't come (work stuff), so I invited over Pam and Samantha (to join Marcia, Kevin, Paul and me). Everyone had a great time, I think -- the food was good, the company was lively, the wine flowed freely but not overly so. :-) Samantha's really funny -- I'll have to invite her to more of these. It was a good crowd; Kevin was a bit quiet for much of it, but he's been deep in math head, and by the end, he was laughing as hard as the rest of us. I now have many many dishes to do (they offered to help, but I hate having guests deal with that, and I don't have to go anywhere today), but it was well worth it.

Today I catch up on various and sundry tasks, but before I go, I want to point you to a really interesting article on the homoerotics of Picard and Q, but quite long and academic; I must admit that I only read as far as paragraph 8 (out of 35). Still glad I read that far, though, so I recommend it unto you. It'll also give those of you who aren't familiar with academia an idea of the sort of thing I'll be writing in grad school.

Have a good day, my dears. I hope the weather's as beautiful there as it is here...

I had a lovely dinner…

I had a lovely dinner with Alex last night, but that's not what I'm going to write about.

I'm just feeling heartsick. There's been a lot of trauma on the CS list lately, and I finally said some things last night in e-mail that I should have said a long time ago, but which were no fun to say. I'm really not sure I'm good at managing people long-term. I think I must not be doing it right, because there's been so much frustration and difficulty all around. And now it's gone far enough that it's very difficult for me to work with some people on staff, and I'm feeling all panicky and not sure what to do.

I went to bed at nine. Then I somehow stayed up 'til 2 on the phone to various people, talking this all over. I wasn't tired. I woke up at 5, still not tired, still thinking about everything, looking for other solutions, not finding them. I had nightmares about this stuff all night.

Clearly it needs to be resolved, and it will be in the next few days. As it stands, a lot of the joy of doing CS has been leached out for me (and undoubtedly for them), and I'm honestly not willing to do it if doing it is making me cry on a regular basis. I know other people who would let angry e-mails just roll right off, and maybe they'd make better managers. I just can't handle it. I've never been able to handle people being mad at me, even if they're burying resentment and not just yelling. I can tell they're mad, and so it needs to be resolved, and quickly, or I can't go on running it.

Oh, munchkins. I love CS, y'know? It's like a baby in some ways; my pet project that I've watched grow, and that I've watched other people come to love. There's a lot of good things happening there -- good work, good people. But it's become so overshadowed by the tension that it's very difficult to face work there right now.

I'm going to go shower and have some tea; maybe that'll help me feel better. It's the last day of classes for the semester -- I want to be cheerful for my other munchkins.

Hey, guys. Didja miss…

Hey, guys. Didja miss me yesterday? One of the few days I've missed this month; I think this may be the month with the most journal entries ever.

I try not to stress about missing entries anymore. Maybe I'll lose a few readers here and there when I don't update for a while, but people seem to come back too, and most of you are pretty patient with me. :-) There's a nasty trap you can get into when you don't update for a while, where you start feeling like you have so much to cover for all the days you've missed that you have to write a really long entry to make up for it...which you put off, 'cause that takes time, and so it gets longer and longer and further and further away from ever happening. Nowadays I just try and do a normal entry when I come back after a hiatus, maybe hitting a couple high points of the intervening time. Much less stress.

That may be my theme for the next couple of years: learning to manage stress. Too many things freak me out. Lack of money. Too much work. Worrying about my love life. Fretting about not writing. Fretting about writing and it not being any good. Tension with my family. Etc. and so on. You know how it goes. And as Kevin keeps telling me, all of that fretting never seems to do me any good. It's not constructive thinking about the problem, it's just working myself up towards an anxiety attack, walking around with a churning stomach and tight shoulder muscles. Waste of time and energy. So I gotta figure out ways to let it go.

Exercise helps a lot. Did you know that (according to one of my students who wrote a research paper on the subject) that moderate aerobic exercise is the best treatment for stress? I believe it; since dancing the other night I've felt better. I'm so glad I went to that party Friday night and danced -- it put me in a good mood for all my grading Saturday (which did get finished, on time, Monday morning, thank you for asking :-). So now that the weather's brightening up, I really am going to try to walk a lot more, and go dancing whenever I can. There are lots of parties coming up in the next two weeks (end of the semester stuff), and after that, Marcia and Samantha say they're willing to go clubbing with me. We'll see what happens. I can always go look into contra dancing again too...

I imagine yoga would help too, but I don't seem to have the patience for that kind of sitting still stuff. The most sitting still and being calm I can manage is while I'm reading a book or watching a movie or chatting with friends. So I guess I should do lots of that too. :-)

Plans for this week -- British Alex is in town, so hopefully we'll be able to get together. He's working during the days, but perhaps dinner tonight or tomorrow or both. Thursday night I have writer's group; Friday early evening I have a small party for my students. (Making finger foods: hummus, tabouleh, smooshed potato curry (I have to come up with a better name for that) with pita, cucumber sushi, chips and salsa, gado-gado (Indonesian just-cooked veggies with peanut sauce), soda and juice. Can't serve alcohol, 'cause I run the risk of getting into big trouble. I knew a teacher who was suspended for serving alcohol to students!

Now I gotta have some tea and eat something, then start wading through some accumulated mail. Have a good day, my dears...

Still polling (please don't vote twice, or even try to). Will assess results on Friday, after a week's run.

Journal Readers - Gender

Are you male, female or other?


Current Results
Journal Readers - Age

How old are you?

over 80

Current Results

Hey, munchkins. I’m…

Hey, munchkins. I'm tired this morning; I stayed up late both Friday and last night, and would have been perfectly happy to sleep in to get my eight hours, but my body just didn't want to sleep that late. So now I'm running on two nights of six hours, and yawning a lot.

Went to a department party last night at Samantha's; was fine. Met a few nice new people, got to dance for a while, had some jello shots (strong!) and wine, got giggly, generally had fun.

Also had a great and very useful conversation with Jed about the Sri Lankan cycle before I went to the party, and a short and sleepy conversation with Jed about party dynamics after the party. Only graded 16 papers, though.

Today's the killer paper day. As soon as I finish this entry, I make some tea and grade the 4 leftover from yesterday. Then I shower and walk in to campus (no buses on Sunday, and besides, it's a gorgeous day) to pick up all the other papers which I managed to leave there Friday. Dork. I may stay there and work for a while; my office has no net connection (and the computer room next door is closed on the weekends), so I might actually be more productive if I stay there. We'll see.

There's really not much else planned for today; grade 'til I drop. But I'm happy anyway; grading these is pretty interesting. The students who tried are generally doing really well -- the ones who didn't are also easy to grade because they're so poor. Usually I mostly end up giving B's -- this time there are more A variants than B's, at least so far. Either they're learning something, or I'm losing my critical faculty. :-)

Note: Thanks for taking the polls. I'm not sure everyone noticed the 'view results' link under the poll questions (it's not in a very visible color on my computer), so I wanted to make you more aware of it. I think I'll put them in an entry again tomorrow, so I can be sure of getting the people who only check mail from work, but already there's almost 60 responses, which means there are twice as many people reading this thing as I thought! Right now 2/3's male, which is fine (I'd rather it were more like 1/2 male, but given the status of the net, smut, etc., I'll be grateful for what I've got). For a while, most readers seemed to be 20-somethings like me, but now the 30-somethings have pulled into the lead. Interesting! A couple of teengers too...meep. You guys just read the journal right? Not anything which could get me arrested? :-)

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone, and a joyous Easter to those who celebrate it!

7:30. Doggedly we go on. Starting to get tired, but I think I'll be okay. It's about 4 papers an hour, and I have 17 left. The current plan is to do 8 more tonight, by 10:00, then get up at 4:30 and finish them off. If I'm not sleepy at 10, I'll try to do 4 more, or as many as I can get through. This is my last marathon paper session, y'know -- in the summer, I'm only teaching 2 classes, and next year I'll be teaching 2 in the fall and 1 in the spring. So probably when I'm going short on sleep next year it'll be because I'm writing a paper, not grading one. :-)

I didn't end up walking to campus, actually. A friend called, and while normally I would have said I couldn't talk, she's someone who's had a particularly rough last month, and who I've been wanting to talk to. So we stayed on the phone for a little over an hour, and when we got off, I was a little worried about the hour of walking to campus and back. Luckily, Kevin called around then to see what I was doing today, and didn't mind running me to campus to pick up my papers...which took 15 minutes instead of an hour. I'm going to miss Kevin's car next year!

I've had various things in the background as I graded; it's not good for me to grade in silence, because then I actually pay too much attention to each paper -- I have to work so hard to resist making too many comments (they intimidate the students -- you need to give them a manageable amount to work on or many tend to despair and become convinced they'll never be able to write). So I tend to either put on old movies that I know by heart or bouncy music, ditto. Yesterday I had The Princess Bride, the animated Hobbit, and Tori Amos's Little Earthquakes; today was The Return of the King, Ladyhawke, and Madonna's Immaculate Collection.

They also keep me in a good mood; otherwise some of these would make me so angry/frustrated that I'd have to really fight to be fair. The background stuff keeps me cheerful, so I can let some of the difficult-to-take-ultra-conservatism roll off; after all, it's not my business to grade their politics -- just their writing and their logic. It's the last part that gets tricky sometimes -- the most deeply held beliefs are often not sufficiently supported, however many times I warn the students that those beliefs need to be. It makes me tempted to just not let them do papers on 'morals' -- they get themselves into real trouble with all the things they take for granted. But on the other hand, they have to learn sometime, and it might as well be from me, since I'll point it out to them relatively kindly and give them the chance to do it over. :-)

Hey, there are more of…

Hey, there are more of you here than I thought! I thought there were about 30 journal readers total, but since 30 people have already answered the poll, in about sixteen hours and starting on a Friday night (the net's dead time), I must assume that there are probably more than thirty. I'm actually getting interested in collecting this info for me, rather than just to test the service, so please, if you haven't already responded to the gender question, take a minute to do so:

Journal Readers - Gender

Are you male, female or other?


Current Results
You'll note that I've changed the title to a slightly more informative one. Hmm...I'm getting all excited about this. Maybe I'll ask you some more questions. Here's one:

Journal Readers - Age

How old are you?

over 80

Current Results
I am, of course, partly doing this to see whether I can easily run multiple polls with this service; but I'm genuinely curious too. Are you guys mostly 20-something's like me? Are you mostly men in your 50's? Mary Anne wants to know!

Paul and Marcia came over last night for cards; we had tried to find a fourth for spades but no luck (Kevin is deep in the throes of preparing for another conference). So we played hearts, which is a pretty decent three person game, and aside from a bitter discussion of whether in the situation where you have only a Queen of spades and hearts left, and hearts have not yet been broken, you can play a heart instead of the Queen (we finally decided no, since you can always play the Queen; it just isn't a heart, although this seemed a bit inconsistent with the fact that we'd been playing as if playing the Queen ALSO broke hearts), the game went very well. They helped me get rid of some evil leftover cheese and some spinach pate (evil to the tummy, not the tongue), and brought Easter candy. We drank some wine; we chatted; it was good. I'm really glad they're here -- they make next year much less scary.

Grading day today. Hmmm...not much else to say about that. I will grade until I fall asleep, and then I will get up and grade some more.

Later, my dears.

9:00 note. I've started reading a new journal; no idea if I'll keep going. Interesting mix of screenwriting and parenting. But this entry depressed me. Sigh.

3:30. Not as far along in grading as I'd like, but I should get my goal of 20 done for today. And hopefully before 9, so I can go to Samantha's party, dance my heart out, get smashed, and be in terrible shape to grade tomorrow. :-)

To clarify (which seems necessary since a bunch of you have been writing to me about the Hearts thing), and using Karen's terminology:

I forgot to specify that you have the lead at that point. That's the trouble. So can you play a Heart, or do you have to play the Bitch. We decided that you had to play the Bitch, because you can always play that at any time; it doesn't have to be broken. But it does seem a little inconsistent then that playing it at any time breaks Hearts too (the solution seems to be thinking of it as breaking points, rather than breaking hearts, but that seems sort of like a technicality). I have played Hearts where playing the Bitch doesn't break hearts, actually, and it works fine. Not a big deal, but definitely something to be clear on before you start play.