…funk for the old soul…

Season’s Beatings

Posted by crowbiz on December 10, 2009

Having a life is a serious impediment to operating a blog.  This implies a lot of things, but that’s not what today is about….

All  three of my fans have recently wondered about my absence here, but I’ve been able to console them face-to-face and make a loose pledge to step it up.  Anyway, January is coming with its teeny, precious baby-Jesus-like bundle of time, so there’s a chance I may put finger to keyboard more in 2010.

Scene of the crime - before the crime.


Online business is booming, so I’ve been consumed with keeping up.  Never underestimate people’s desire for small things to stuff a stocking.  Naturally, I’m happy about all this, if tired.  Occasionally, I get annoyed at the buyer who drops a little note like “Ship ASAP!  Need soon!” , as if I’m one of the English-as-a-third-language night-shift operators standing by in the factory order processing room.  Nothing I can’t shrug off, but just once I’d like to reply to a deadbeat buyer, “Pay ASAP!  Need money!”

Oh, and there’s that “job” I have, that commitment on M-W-F to edify the masses – or a couple hundred, anyway – at Buffalo State College.   The semester has been pretty typical, though the two courses I’m handling tend to be the most time-sucking and morale-bashing for completely different reasons.

My Intro Psych students have just one final exam to do, after which I tally the grades and wipe my hands.  In a fit of holiday benevolence (or idiocy), I decided to let all 150 of them bring their own self-designed “cheat sheets” on one 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper (front and back, typed or handwritten, their choice).  The act was sort of like throwing your hands in the air on the downhill of a careening roller coaster ride.   It’s no skin off me, and as a cognitive psychologist, I designed this as a ploy to get them to (boing!) review, organize, sort and study the material, whereas they just think I’ve lost it and that they’re getting away with something big.  My main interest  is in seeing students’ creativity with the cheat sheet and in finding out what kind of loopholes they concoct.  The ones smart enough to use 6 point type will probably do just fine and the ones using their own chunky handwriting with the “i”s dotted with hearts….well, people will get what they deserve.

On the other end of the spectrum is my Experimental Research Methods class, a grueling, deep, theoretical journey into nerdism unmatched by most college courses.  Sixteen students work their variable-sized asses off in a never-ending barrage of written labs, exercises and other tortuous activities designed to make fledgling scientists out of them.  I’ve yet to finish grading their final research proposal projects, and currently they are slogging through their oral presentations in class while I get a chance to sit in the back.  Getting many of them to understand factorial designs and how to interpret them is like dragging a dead ox uphill through a privet hedge, but I’d say about 75% of them ultimately qualify as “getting it.”  This has involved enormous amounts of hand-holding over the past several weeks, and my hands are now officially off-limits.  A few, surely, hoped for the following form of counsel:

“Here, let me design this experiment for you, then I’ll write up a 12 or 14 page paper.  Then I’ll give it to you; you rearrange a few words, print it while I look the other way, then hand it back to me, and we’ll call it a semester, huh?”

The holiday handmade show circuit was drastically reduced for me this year, owing to the teaching schedule.  One shining moment remains, that being this weekend’s Last Minute Panic Holiday Marketplace at the WNY Book Arts Center, where I will give it whatever I’ve got and enjoy chatting it up with lots of folks.  Last year was a good time, so I’m hoping this weekend will give me the lift I need to power through the rest of the season – and year – with head up.

Well, that’s a snapshot in the life of Crow, which may be of great interest to those of you who live under a rock.  Others wishing for more intrigue will have to wait until I start hitting the Tom & Jerry bowl during the holiday party rounds.

2 Responses to “Season’s Beatings”

  1. ellisonbaypottery said

    always thinking of them selves, those customers…
    loved your ‘standing by’ reference.
    Loved reading your blog. will be back

  2. […] Season’s Beatings […]

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