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I am awarding myself an ironic award tonight for completing TWO. WHOLE. SENTENCES. in my dissertation. (Four if you count the two I added and then deleted. [Also. There were like ten hours between each of those steps.] Six if you count the false starts too.)

In OTHER news: I am re-doing my Detective Fiction syllabus for next term. My strategy for OH-YES-I-AM-A-SCARYSCARY-TEACHER-FEAR-ME-YOUTH-OF-AMERICA actually worked ridiculously well. (I'm surprised too.) I'm trying to identify which aspects of this semester's style worked and which worked only considering these particular youths of America and this particular subject matter (which was, broadly speaking, the rights and responsibilities of art).

Things I think worked in its favor:
- the students self-selected themselves away because of how tough the material and tone was in the first couple of weeks. The survivors were always ready to kick ass or chew gum. And there was never any chewing gum.
- they don't get too despondent about bad grades when I still have the end-of-term buffer of creative projects to boost anybody who needs a boost. The downside of that, of course, is that they don't know they're being saved and write scathing end of term evaluations. The jury's still out on that one.
- big philosophical questions make for the best discussion and the best essays. I think this can be retrofitted to work with a genre study too (i.e., Detective fiction). I just need to make sure I structure the course around thematic concerns instead of accuracy or chronology. This seems counter-intuitive but I also believe I am in the middle of a year-long Eureka moment, teaching-wise. So.
- not worrying about what they think of me has helped wonderfully. Granted, I'm saying this before the evals--which is when I always care most what they think of me--but I started this semester willing to get horrible evals in the name of getting them to be better writers. It will suck in a couple of weeks--I'll undoubtedly be weepy and emo all over the internet then, fun times ahead--but I feel confident in that choice. I don't want them to like me if I have to bribe them with baked goods or cushy grades or sweet-talking. I would rather they were frustrated and challenged. I really would.

SO. I am thinking for the Detective Fiction course that I am going to divide it into four thematic/philosophical sections. Part One will be an investigation into the idea of the "chase" (possibly using Terry Pratchett's Night Watch as the literary text?). Part Two will be the idea of the Worthy Opponent (Reichenbach Falls, maybe? Or maybe even Coriolanus. Will that Ralph Fiennes film be out on DVD in time for me to use it, I wonder?). Part Three will probably be the importance of location, like noir metropolitan crime fiction (Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler, prolly. Maybe Ian Rankin?). Then the final section--that I'm going back and forth about--will be systems of policing, very quis custodiet ipsos custodes. I'm think Watchmen. I've never taught a graphic novel before. It could be fascinating.

Now I just need to flesh out the theoretical portion. I need to start strong and crazy hard to scare off weak students who would whine and be miserable all semester anyway. I also need to make sure it's cool at the same time, to ensure I keep all the cleverest ones who like to be challenges. Foucalt in the final section for sure, but do I want to open with a graphic novel? Hmmmmmmm.....


OK. That's enough waffle about teaching.

Other news: fabulous roommates and I are sticking together for another year (yay!), we're also getting Family Holiday Portraits at JC Penney this week because two out of four of us (me!) have never done so before (yay!), and the semester is almost over (YAAAAAAY!).

On the other hand, I am almost finished with Stargate: Atlantis (BOOOOOO!) and am already feeling Rodney withdrawal. I just....I love him. Lots. With all of my many Feelings and Thoughts. I always talk to my TV when I watch, yeah, but I stopped using his name at all like a hundred episodes ago (<--hyperbole to my left) and have started, at first unconsciously, referring to him primarily as "Babe." As if I was Danny and he was my Steve. I am H50-ing my love for him. It's crazy pants up in my head, is what I'm saying.

Look at this now:

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August 2012

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