Thursday, April 26, 2012

The kites are back in town

The Mississippi Kites arrived on a thermal at 7:10 yesterday evening (April 25).  I may be mistaken, but it really appeared as if I witnessed the very moment of in-migration.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hunger Comparisons

When I've had conversations about the Hunger Games*, other works similar to (or not similar to) the series have always been part of the conversation.  While certainly not unusual for me to make comparisons, I find it striking that I always do with Hunger Games.  I never felt compelled to describe Harry Potter as combination of Chronicles of Narnia, A Separate Peace and Star Wars, at least not until right now, but very few Hunger Games conversations did not include mention of The Lord of The Flies, "The Lottery", Star Wars, Spartacus, The Truman Show, "The Most Dangerous Game", Nineteen Eighty-Four, or Survivor.
So I'll kick off the Hunger Games discussion with a few questions:
1) Have you made comparisons of the Hunger Games with other works?  If so, with what?
2) Which of the above have you read or seen?
3) Why do you think this work elicits so many comparisons?
4) What else do you want to talk about regarding Hunger Games?

Next big discussion point: The ick factor.  How hard is it to get past the idea that you are reading, for pleasure, a violent work which has a point that violence should not be entertainment?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Life on the margin. Of something

Last week, while we were rushing to the computer lab to finish his poster, I told one of my completely overwhelmed students that I felt like I was, "just one paper jam from being fired", and we commiserated about how much we hate being that close on everything.
I spent some time walking home thinking about how thin the margins I'm working on here are-- of time, of professional competence, of family sanity-- and how I was going to blog about how I hate not having wiggle room.
Except it's not true. Well, it is true that I hate being so rushed going into lab that one paper jam can screw up my whole day.
But I had the paper jam. On a day when I was already late because Dianthus didn't want to get up. Because he had been in bed with us in the middle of the night. Because we'd had serious thunder storms all night. And I had hand-written the quiz instead of printing it because . . . and I arrived at worked soaked from hard rain pellets that I somehow didn't expect to start only a block from our house.
And that paper jam that put me over the edge made me give a quiz three minutes late.
I'm over-fed, loved, not about to be evicted and generally appreciated at work.
I've given some poor lectures recently, and I really hate giving poor lectures. And I've picked up Dianthus at 5:15 instead of 4:45 and I really hate doing that. And I've had too many meals of cereal and yogurt and I almost didn't get my April Fool's letter out and I haven't started a Hunger Games discussion and my younger son has too many teeth (6 at 8 months!) and tries to use them on everything and my older son needs to be made to sit down at dinner time and and and
And you'd better watch out. Because I'm just this close and with a little provocation I might slip.
And then I'd have to write the quiz questions on the board.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Leeking this time of year

Strangely enough, it is April 1 and I am neither engaged nor pregnant with twins.

And, despite what some of you may have read, I am not headed to the National Championship game in New Orleans. I'm headed to work in the morning.

Of course, some of the stranger parts of the letter are true. We did have all of those maladies. My graduate fellowship was funded by someone with the same last name as the KU Men's Basketball coach. We walked a 5K in dense fog yesterday. And KU is playing in the national championship game.

A while back the campus sewer lines had to be completely dug out because, seriously, men were flushing too many cell phones. I didn't include that in the letter because, well, a leek in the toilet strains credibility enough (although the leek I put in the toilet 17 years I ago still makes me laugh).

If you don't know what letter I am talking about let me know and I'll send you a copy; this year's distribution was spotty, at best. Happy April.