Thursday, March 03, 2005

Blogroll up and ...tripping

Yes, I finally posted sidebar links to favorite blogs.
No, it was not as easy as I thought it would be.
Yes, it took a lot of time.
No, it's not working perfectly.
Yes, I emailed those with troubled and troubling URL's asking what the buzz was.
No, I do not intend to fix the two one defective links tonight. [UPDATE: they're fixed.]
Yes, I'll add others. Please, go easy on me. This was hard enough.
No, I do not pretend to be facile with HTML. I don't even know what it stands for. Hateful Technological Manipulative Disorder? I don't care that the letters do not match.
Yes, that's all I have to say about this for now.

I would not be one of THEM if I did not write a comment about the hot topic of the day

There is much discussion currently in our Law School about Internet use in the classroom. I’ll permit a reasoned guess as to how the troops appear to be aligning themselves. You are correct! Most faculty (of those who have bothered to post on this) favor placing some limits on Internet use (in the name of etiquette and pedagogy) and most (though not all) students favor leaving this to their own judgment.

I am in the collegial minority – I have gobs to say about etiquette and not a whole lot on the matter of how pedagogy is affected by Internet surfing. Because, in truth, I do not know that much about pedagogy, except what I see students responding well to, as evidenced by their class participation, attendance, exam performance and course evals. I trusted them with fashioning their own learning styles before and I am ready to let them judge now how they wish to listen and learn. [My guess is that the educational professionals (the school teachers) who these days clutter school rooms with visuals, know what they’re doing. By comparison, our Law School walls are bare. Clutter on the screen may be an antidote for some students whose eyes glaze over when they have to look at just ME.]

On the matter of etiquette, I feel myself to be on firmer ground. I am an etiquette buff. Some people are fastidiously precise with putting on make up in the morning, some iron their sheets and towels, still others use actual shoe polish on their shoes instead of spitting on a rag and wiping off the mud. Me, I like etiquette. I like polite, I like courtesy, I like good manners and good behaviors. I just like all that stuff that paves the way for pleasant, cordial relations. It makes life so much easier to proceed with respect. And so, I am convinced that rules of laptop ettiquette should appear in every spot on earth where laptops are permitted (these would include no porn, no distracting visuals, nothing that may be intrusive, rude, inappropriate, etc.).

As for me, up there in the front of the room, at some point there will be a student who will come to class with an iPod in one ear and a laptop under her arm and she will take off her glasses and close her eyes and snore and the snore will flutter the newspaper where she has been doing the crossword to the floor and that, most certainly, will be a distraction for me. At that moment I say take that piece of technology and find yourself another rest station. But it hasn’t happened yet. From my vantage point, students appear to be decent and polite. Especially when they understand that they are being graded by the prof who is watching them every single minute of class time.


Since I have lived in this house (17 years this summer), I have never had a backyard neighbor. The house on the adjacent lot stands empty, neglected. Upon occasion one can talk oneself into seeing lights at night there, shadows on the blue snow, moving images and shapes, signs of life, but not really, because, unless one is under a martini haze, there is no life there. The house is truly deserted.

In the morning, of course, it is obvious that any noises or dancing shadows from the night were all in one’s head. Add a pinkish orange morning tint to the scene and you’ll have a house that is truly bewitching, if not bewitched. I’m looking at it now as I work away at the kitchen table. So tranquil, so pretty! So deserted.
morning light, the "witches' house." Posted by Hello

A Madison March morning

So, you, dear reader from a southern state, you wanted to see the way spring makes its way to our doorstep here in Wisconsin? Alright. A photo from this morning:
Backyard steps. (Were you expecting crocuses? On March 3rd? In Madison?) Posted by Hello

You never know: that person riding the subway with me in NYC? She may well be a former student of mine.

One of the fantastic things about teaching is, of course, that sooner or later, the student is done with your classes. By that I mean that they move on. I have already rhapsodized about keeping connected to those who that stay in town. Over the years, as their numbers swell, they fill the firms around Madison and you get to the point where you never know (especially if you are like me and have a problem keeping a name to a face) when you are going to be passing each other on the street. I feel like inevitably there will come a day when someone will come up to me and do one of those “Moonstruck” numbers of spitting at my feet or slapping me down for something that I said or did that irritated them back in 1989. To date, they have been more gracious than that, but you never know.

Those that go away typically are gone for good. Occasionally they will email, but that conversation usually fizzles after one round of “how’s it going?” I love the updates, but absent a more current mutual stomping ground, we simply don’t have the time to take things further than that.

Enter the world of blogs. Yesterday I heard from one of my students of many, many years back. She had discovered Ocean a while ago and, probably in the spirit of “if she can do it, it can't be that hard,” her NYCbeauty blog was born. She had always been a clever and audacious writer. She now joins the ranks of others around town and out in the world who have taken up this hobby and are producing some of the funniest, punchiest posts out there. Check out her introduction to her blog. It’ll make you chuckle for sure.