Saturday, September 02, 2006

Random Bullets of Huh-Huh-Huh--with BONUS questions about teaching and dissertation printing

"Huh-huh-huh"--spoken in triplet rhythm--was my late grandfather's way of saying "dog crap." For example, gesturing at the grass: "Watch out for the huh-huh-huh."

On dissertating:
  • The dissertation is complete except for the bibliography and abstract. The abstract is killing me. After writing 230 pages, I can't pull together 350 words. Why is that?
  • My university requires us to fill out approximately 456 forms to turn in with the dissertation. Again, I ask, why?
  • Writing the acknowledgements section was anticlimactic.
  • Any advice on ordering bound dissertations? The ones from UMI are damn expensive and not terribly attractive. Should I just get bound copies elsewhere? Maybe do a private printing at Lulu?
On childrearing:
  • Lucas is almost walking.
  • Lucas loves to play with sunlight and shadow.
  • Lucas is babbling almost nonstop. It cracks me up, his constant commentary.
On teaching:
  • It's tough to teach an intro American Studies class in only 10 class meetings. Don't try it at home.
  • I'm relieved that in the fall when I teach this course again, I'll have 20 class meetings, plus TA sections.
  • I'm regretting ordering 40 copies of Starship Troopers for my 1950s class without first reading the novel. Analyses of it made it sound so cool, and now. . . Well, now I have a book I don't think most students will read. But forge on I will! Oh yes, I will punish them as I am punishing myself by reading every. single. word. of the Heinlein masterpiece.
  • Also on the docket for the 1950s course: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique, and Holy Land by D. J. Waldie. Any suggestions on what I should lecture on to supplement these books, besides suburbs, housewives, and African Americans? Also: How difficult do you think it would be for my students to find women who were 18 years old by, say, 1955? I'd like them to interview such women after reading Friedan's book.
On Nordstrom (aka "Bait and Switch"):
  • Looking for a suit or two for my two-day, three-part job interview, I first went into Macy's, but their suit selection was craptastic, so I ventured into Nordstrom.
  • I was checking out a nice jacket/slacks pairing when the salesperson approached me to help. She ushered me into the dressing room with the $400 worth of clothes I had chosen--jacket, pants, blouse.
  • The pants didn't fit, and they didn't have any others my size.
  • Saleswoman returned with a couple of gorgeous suits. One of them fit beautifully, as if the jacket had been tailored to fit me.
  • I checked the price tags and just about fainted.
  • I asked myself: "Sofa or suit?" Job interview won out over living room.
  • Bought shoes to match suit, had pants tailored--for the first time in my life--to fit. Because I paid full price for the clothes, tailoring was free, thank FSM.
On the upcoming job interview:

Day 1:
  • Part I : bus tour of historic sites in the city--with other job candidates.
  • Part II: dinner with director of leisure bureau--and other job candidates.
Day 2:
  • Part III: writing test.
  • Part IV: presentation of written material to interview panel #1.
  • Part V: interview by panel #2.
  • Part VI: trillwing goes home and faints (after carefully hanging up ridiculously expensive suit).
On local warming:
  • Our energy bill for August was half the amount of July's.
  • July sucked.
That is all.

7 comments:

RLT said...

I'd think it would be very possible that their grandmothers could be around the right age. Can you get them to phone home and ask their mothers?

Scrivener said...

"Any suggestions on what I should lecture on to supplement these books, besides suburbs, housewives, and African Americans?" Jazz. Double consciousness. DuBois and Booker T. Dostoevsky. There's a book by Bedford, I think it is, called Cultural Contexts for Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man that might be useful.

Sarah said...

With Friedan, how about tying in something to do with architecture and space--like the layout of the home--lots of stuff on that. Especially privacy--room of one's own type stuff. Or for something fun and accessible, advertisements from the 1950s--analyzing those could add to any number of topics. In my experience students have really gotten into criticizing advertisements and other visual rhetoric. I think it's totally reasonable to ask for the interviews, and it should be very easy to find women the right age.

ScienceWoman said...

Loved your complaint about abstract writing. I am struggling with mine right now.

What Now? said...

I had very good success last semester using Karal Ann Marling's As Seen on TV: The Visual Culture of Everyday Life in the 1950s (Harvard University Press). Not all of the chapters were equally successful, but the students totally got into the chapters on changing styles for refrigerators and washing machines as a backdrop for the "Kitchen Debates." Also, the Disneyland chapter and the cooking chapters went over well.

What Now? said...

I had good luck last semester using Karal Ann Marling's As Seen on TV: The Visual Culture of Everyday Life in the 1950s (Harvard University Press). Not all of the chapters were equally successful, and I didn't go through the book in order, but some of it worked extremely well and gave students a better feel for the decade than I'd ever managed to pull off before.

What Now? said...

oops -- sorry for that double commenting. My web browser wigged out on me as I was posting the first comment.