Archive for October 2005

Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2005
You will notice–I hope–that my profile pic is a lit Jack-o-lantern carved with my favorite face–ME. Hahahahhaha.

S

ince Halloween is not a national holiday, I went to work. Not only did I go to work, we had a midterm in J Lit in Translation. Poor guys. So anyway, I created the exam this weekend–sometime after another one of UCLA’s incredible comebacks in overtime–and saved it to my handy dandy flash drive. Yes, I am not totally inept when it comes to computers.

Well, I go to school today and plug in the drive to my computer and… and… IT’S NOT ON MY DRIVE! Oh crap! I call M to have her send me a copy by email… one ringy dingy, two ringy dingy… the answering machine picks up.

“Hi, this is Onigiriman. Please leave a message.”

“Helloooooooooooooooooooo, Musubichan. Pick uuuuuuuuuuuup! Helloooooooooo! You there? Please, please, please be home!”

No luck. She’s probably running, that health freak! So I’m about to give birth to a cow, when I look at the screen again under the LitClass directory and low and behold: “Midterm05″… Why didn’t I notice that earlier? Well, I print it out post haste, check the hard copy for typos and whatnot, edit it a bit and make 30 copies for class.

Whew, one near–presumed, imagined, self-imposed–disaster resolved. A student walks in to ask me about another class–Literary Japanese, bungo. We have a midterm in this class on Thursday, so he’s stressing out about that. He has a few questions, I answer them. He puzzles over them for a second, understands grammar of a question he got wrong in last week’s quiz (we have a quiz every Tuesday), and he leaves happy that he understands it.

Ah, another satisfied customer…

I look at the clock. 5:15… 5:15… Lit in Translation begins at 5 o’clock… 5 o’clock… 5… SHIT! I’m late!

I scoop up the exams and bluebooks I will distribute and race down the stairs, all the while trying to figure out if I should give them extra time or reduce the exam by one essay question. It never ceases to amaze me how fast the human brain can process information when faced with a dire situation. Luckily for me, the class is only one floor down from my office. I heave the door open, and burst into the room.

“Sorry! I got…”

I look across the class and about 15 unrecognizable faces stare at me, startled. A teacher standing in front of the whiteboard looks at me puzzled, then with a look of disbelief.

“Oops, sorry. Wrong classroom.”

I too am puzzled, as I sheepishly withdraw and close the door. I look at the room number, check my surroundings. Everything seems right… I then check my watch… 4:18… 4:18… I forgot to reset the clock in my office to Standard Time. I hate daylight savings. It is sooooooooo outdated.

I exhale a very heavy sigh. I averted another would-be, wanna-be disaster, but in the process embarrassed the hell outa myself.

I wonder if this is the product of being overworked… Somebody, give me an excuse I can live with…

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Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2005
You will notice–I hope–that my profile pic is a lit Jack-o-lantern carved with my favorite face–ME. Hahahahhaha.

S

ince Halloween is not a national holiday, I went to work. Not only did I go to work, we had a midterm in J Lit in Translation. Poor guys. So anyway, I created the exam this weekend–sometime after another one of UCLA’s incredible comebacks in overtime–and saved it to my handy dandy flash drive. Yes, I am not totally inept when it comes to computers.

Well, I go to school today and plug in the drive to my computer and… and… IT’S NOT ON MY DRIVE! Oh crap! I call M to have her send me a copy by email… one ringy dingy, two ringy dingy… the answering machine picks up.

“Hi, this is Onigiriman. Please leave a message.”

“Helloooooooooooooooooooo, Musubichan. Pick uuuuuuuuuuuup! Helloooooooooo! You there? Please, please, please be home!”

No luck. She’s probably running, that health freak! So I’m about to give birth to a cow, when I look at the screen again under the LitClass directory and low and behold: “Midterm05″… Why didn’t I notice that earlier? Well, I print it out post haste, check the hard copy for typos and whatnot, edit it a bit and make 30 copies for class.

Whew, one near–presumed, imagined, self-imposed–disaster resolved. A student walks in to ask me about another class–Literary Japanese, bungo. We have a midterm in this class on Thursday, so he’s stressing out about that. He has a few questions, I answer them. He puzzles over them for a second, understands grammar of a question he got wrong in last week’s quiz (we have a quiz every Tuesday), and he leaves happy that he understands it.

Ah, another satisfied customer…

I look at the clock. 5:15… 5:15… Lit in Translation begins at 5 o’clock… 5 o’clock… 5… SHIT! I’m late!

I scoop up the exams and bluebooks I will distribute and race down the stairs, all the while trying to figure out if I should give them extra time or reduce the exam by one essay question. It never ceases to amaze me how fast the human brain can process information when faced with a dire situation. Luckily for me, the class is only one floor down from my office. I heave the door open, and burst into the room.

“Sorry! I got…”

I look across the class and about 15 unrecognizable faces stare at me, startled. A teacher standing in front of the whiteboard looks at me puzzled, then with a look of disbelief.

“Oops, sorry. Wrong classroom.”

I too am puzzled, as I sheepishly withdraw and close the door. I look at the room number, check my surroundings. Everything seems right… I then check my watch… 4:18… 4:18… I forgot to reset the clock in my office to Standard Time. I hate daylight savings. It is sooooooooo outdated.

I exhale a very heavy sigh. I averted another would-be, wanna-be disaster, but in the process embarrassed the hell outa myself.

I wonder if this is the product of being overworked… Somebody, give me an excuse I can live with…

Two alma maters

October 29, 2005

Even though it’s Saturday, and even though there’s the UCLA logo on the right, it’s not really a football post. Honest.

M

any people who have gone to graduate school have gone to two different schools… at least. I went to UCLA to get a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts. My BA is in Japanese–whatever that means. I mean, that would be like someone in Japan majoring in “American”: A little bit of US culture, four years of English, 200 plus years of US history, a semester on Whitman or Hemingway or Fitzgerald. In majoring in Japanese, there is more than 1000 years of history, a written language than applies words pronounced in both Japanese and Chinese to thousands of Chinese characters, and scores of well known authors and poets that predate Columbus. So saying I majored in Japanese in college doesn’t necessarily mean I was an expert at that time.

My MA is in East Asian Languages and Cultures. To be honest, that is even vaguer than my BA degree. Why? Because I focused on Japan. I was required to take a year of another East Asian language and some other East Asian topic, so I studied Chinese for a summer at the University of Washington and I also took medieval Chinese history. But I am a far cry from being an East Asianist. I mean, if Japan was too vast topic to master in four years, then what the heck am I gonna do in two years with 3000 years of history, tens of thousands of Chinese characters, and more dead Asian males than you can shake a stick at. I don’t mean to suggest that I didn’t study, and I do know more about Japan than most people, but geez, Japan–let alone East Asian–is so vast that I’m wary of calling myself a specialist even now with a Ph.D.

STAN

Speaking of which, I got that little baby at Stanford. I got a great education there, and made contacts that have been indispensable in my career. But lets face it, I had my best years during my undergraduate years, and my loyalties reside there. So when UCLA plays Stanford today on the Farm, I will not hesitate to root for my Bruins. I mean, I’ve been rooting for them since my childhood before I enrolled there, so I wouldn’t be changing alliances so easily anyway.

However, I root for Stanford when they play anyone else, but I gotta tell ya’, rooting for this school is an experience in itself. The mascot is a tree–a TREE! Seriously, do you know how hard it is to give the ol’ Stanford yell when the Tree is encouraging you on? And the band! Hahahahahha. They are the most unique… wait, that’s not the word. Let’s be honest. It’s more like the weirdest band of them all. They have absolutely no discipline. They wear cardinal red blazers–usually wrinkled and soiled. They wear hats that most people associate with fishing. Indeed, I’ve seen some have hooks and flies attached to them. This is not a reflection of their musicianship, mind you. They play marvelously. But they are crazy. When the team played Notre Dame one year, the band played music that included a tribute to the Irish potato famine. I kid you not. And when the Bruins were in the midst of the handicapped parking scandal, the Stanford band marched in the formation of a handicapped parking sticker. This was amazing when you consider this band can barely march in a straight line. And in step with each other? Pshaw! That would be too… too… too much like a MARCHING band.

But I gotta tell ya, they are a riot to watch and a pleasure to listen to, when they are not dissing you or your team or your school. I mean, they don’t even respect their own school. One year, the football team was playing Cal (I think), and the team played so badly that the Band–already drunk–decided to take their frustration out on their own mascot. A few grabbed the tree and others began to urinate on it. They were pissing on their OWN mascot. I think someone later said they were just relieving themselves on the nearest tree… Hahahaha. These guys are out of control.

Anyway, Go Bruins! Beat the Cardinal…

Two alma maters

October 29, 2005

Even though it’s Saturday, and even though there’s the UCLA logo on the right, it’s not really a football post. Honest.

M

any people who have gone to graduate school have gone to two different schools… at least. I went to UCLA to get a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts. My BA is in Japanese–whatever that means. I mean, that would be like someone in Japan majoring in “American”: A little bit of US culture, four years of English, 200 plus years of US history, a semester on Whitman or Hemingway or Fitzgerald. In majoring in Japanese, there is more than 1000 years of history, a written language than applies words pronounced in both Japanese and Chinese to thousands of Chinese characters, and scores of well known authors and poets that predate Columbus. So saying I majored in Japanese in college doesn’t necessarily mean I was an expert at that time.

My MA is in East Asian Languages and Cultures. To be honest, that is even vaguer than my BA degree. Why? Because I focused on Japan. I was required to take a year of another East Asian language and some other East Asian topic, so I studied Chinese for a summer at the University of Washington and I also took medieval Chinese history. But I am a far cry from being an East Asianist. I mean, if Japan was too vast topic to master in four years, then what the heck am I gonna do in two years with 3000 years of history, tens of thousands of Chinese characters, and more dead Asian males than you can shake a stick at. I don’t mean to suggest that I didn’t study, and I do know more about Japan than most people, but geez, Japan–let alone East Asian–is so vast that I’m wary of calling myself a specialist even now with a Ph.D.

STAN

Speaking of which, I got that little baby at Stanford. I got a great education there, and made contacts that have been indispensable in my career. But lets face it, I had my best years during my undergraduate years, and my loyalties reside there. So when UCLA plays Stanford today on the Farm, I will not hesitate to root for my Bruins. I mean, I’ve been rooting for them since my childhood before I enrolled there, so I wouldn’t be changing alliances so easily anyway.

However, I root for Stanford when they play anyone else, but I gotta tell ya’, rooting for this school is an experience in itself. The mascot is a tree–a TREE! Seriously, do you know how hard it is to give the ol’ Stanford yell when the Tree is encouraging you on? And the band! Hahahahahha. They are the most unique… wait, that’s not the word. Let’s be honest. It’s more like the weirdest band of them all. They have absolutely no discipline. They wear cardinal red blazers–usually wrinkled and soiled. They wear hats that most people associate with fishing. Indeed, I’ve seen some have hooks and flies attached to them. This is not a reflection of their musicianship, mind you. They play marvelously. But they are crazy. When the team played Notre Dame one year, the band played music that included a tribute to the Irish potato famine. I kid you not. And when the Bruins were in the midst of the handicapped parking scandal, the Stanford band marched in the formation of a handicapped parking sticker. This was amazing when you consider this band can barely march in a straight line. And in step with each other? Pshaw! That would be too… too… too much like a MARCHING band.

But I gotta tell ya, they are a riot to watch and a pleasure to listen to, when they are not dissing you or your team or your school. I mean, they don’t even respect their own school. One year, the football team was playing Cal (I think), and the team played so badly that the Band–already drunk–decided to take their frustration out on their own mascot. A few grabbed the tree and others began to urinate on it. They were pissing on their OWN mascot. I think someone later said they were just relieving themselves on the nearest tree… Hahahaha. These guys are out of control.

Anyway, Go Bruins! Beat the Cardinal…

Don’t TGIF

October 28, 2005

M

an, this has been one hell of a week. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt so busy. Of course, I must blame a lot of it on poor time management… as if I should have to worry about such things. Thanks to the immigration interview prep and ultimate fiasco of last week, I had to put off some of my work, which led to the overload this week: extra papers to grade, letters of recommendations, blah, blah, blah… And did I mention my sister dropped into town on Wednesday night? I haven’t seen her in quite awhile, so it was nice to talk to her. Not her fault, of course, but I wish the timing was better. I spent time grading instead of talking to her more.

In any event, I have some more work to do, and I will try to finish it off as quickly as possible.

  • Letter of recs–MatsukinSamba, Hanazakari
  • Grading–Readings quiz, Lit papers
  • Program newsletter–*sigh*
  • Midterm prep–Lit, Classical
  • Class prep–Genji teams.

The last item on the list is worrisome. Creating an exam is fine, but that also means I have to grade it. So should I create an exam that is challenging, one that induces, distinguishes, and acknowledges the abilities of my students? Or should I give them an easy exam–multiple choice, fill in the blanks, true/false–one that is easy to grade. Decisions, decisions.

Well, since I love my students, especially the good ones, I will likely create midterms that combine both, although perhaps heavier on the challenging side. Besides, I am a masochist at heart, all evidence to the contrary–my students will point to my daily/weekly quizzes and remind me of my sadistic tendencies…

*sigh*

Don’t they realize it’s all for them?

So it looks like my weekend is booked. The only down time will be spent watching my Bruin game–we play my other alma mater–and maybe sometime running…

So what are you guys doing this weekend?

Don’t TGIF

October 28, 2005

M

an, this has been one hell of a week. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt so busy. Of course, I must blame a lot of it on poor time management… as if I should have to worry about such things. Thanks to the immigration interview prep and ultimate fiasco of last week, I had to put off some of my work, which led to the overload this week: extra papers to grade, letters of recommendations, blah, blah, blah… And did I mention my sister dropped into town on Wednesday night? I haven’t seen her in quite awhile, so it was nice to talk to her. Not her fault, of course, but I wish the timing was better. I spent time grading instead of talking to her more.

In any event, I have some more work to do, and I will try to finish it off as quickly as possible.

  • Letter of recs–MatsukinSamba, Hanazakari
  • Grading–Readings quiz, Lit papers
  • Program newsletter–*sigh*
  • Midterm prep–Lit, Classical
  • Class prep–Genji teams.

The last item on the list is worrisome. Creating an exam is fine, but that also means I have to grade it. So should I create an exam that is challenging, one that induces, distinguishes, and acknowledges the abilities of my students? Or should I give them an easy exam–multiple choice, fill in the blanks, true/false–one that is easy to grade. Decisions, decisions.

Well, since I love my students, especially the good ones, I will likely create midterms that combine both, although perhaps heavier on the challenging side. Besides, I am a masochist at heart, all evidence to the contrary–my students will point to my daily/weekly quizzes and remind me of my sadistic tendencies…

*sigh*

Don’t they realize it’s all for them?

So it looks like my weekend is booked. The only down time will be spent watching my Bruin game–we play my other alma mater–and maybe sometime running…

So what are you guys doing this weekend?

Don’t TGIF

October 28, 2005

M

an, this has been one hell of a week. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt so busy. Of course, I must blame a lot of it on poor time management… as if I should have to worry about such things. Thanks to the immigration interview prep and ultimate fiasco of last week, I had to put off some of my work, which led to the overload this week: extra papers to grade, letters of recommendations, blah, blah, blah… And did I mention my sister dropped into town on Wednesday night? I haven’t seen her in quite awhile, so it was nice to talk to her. Not her fault, of course, but I wish the timing was better. I spent time grading instead of talking to her more.

In any event, I have some more work to do, and I will try to finish it off as quickly as possible.

  • Letter of recs–MatsukinSamba, Hanazakari
  • Grading–Readings quiz, Lit papers
  • Program newsletter–*sigh*
  • Midterm prep–Lit, Classical
  • Class prep–Genji teams.

The last item on the list is worrisome. Creating an exam is fine, but that also means I have to grade it. So should I create an exam that is challenging, one that induces, distinguishes, and acknowledges the abilities of my students? Or should I give them an easy exam–multiple choice, fill in the blanks, true/false–one that is easy to grade. Decisions, decisions.

Well, since I love my students, especially the good ones, I will likely create midterms that combine both, although perhaps heavier on the challenging side. Besides, I am a masochist at heart, all evidence to the contrary–my students will point to my daily/weekly quizzes and remind me of my sadistic tendencies…

*sigh*

Don’t they realize it’s all for them?

So it looks like my weekend is booked. The only down time will be spent watching my Bruin game–we play my other alma mater–and maybe sometime running…

So what are you guys doing this weekend?