Archive for April 2006

Message in a Bottle II

April 29, 2006

To all my former students, current one’s too…

A

re you a former student of mine? Current one? Were you/are you a Japanese major? Well, please keep in touch by clicking here for more info.

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Hunters and Gatherers, Part One

April 28, 2006

Or Why Women Are Smarter Than Men…

O

n these Xanga pages, I often complain about the amount of work I am assigned. I am not trying to elicit your sympathy–although a few pats on the back go a long way in alleviating my frustrations, such as they are. But the reason why I complain so much here is because I cannot complain elsewhere.

As a post-secondary instructor, there are a lot of demands placed on me/us. Despite what the President may say about how strong our economy is–he’s so full of it–education is suffering from lack of funds and budget cuts. As a result, colleges demand professors to teach more classes with greater enrollment. There was a time when the powers that be would encourage courses with only 6 or more students for an advanced upper division course to grow a little larger, but now anything under 10 student is red-flagged as under-enrolled and immediately under threat of being cut from the curriculum. We are not like Spanish or Calculus or Bio–fields of studies in which students seemingly enroll automatically–so we must constantly do our best to make our courses interesting and challenging at all times. This semester, I taught:

  1. Classical Japanese–8 students, six quizzes, midterm, final.
  2. J-Lit in Translation–31 students, weekly quizzes, 5 short papers, final
  3. J-culture through Film–50 students, weekly quizzes, 4 short papers, final.
  4. Proseminar–3 students, one senior thesis (25-30 pages).
  5. Internship advisor–1 student, one final paper (25-30 pages).

That is 93 students I am responsible for, and a hell of a lot of grading. Many have suggested that I cut down on the number of assignments–not surprisingly, many students make this suggestion–but I insist that if they don’t do the assignments, they will learn nothing, and I refuse to have any of my students finish my course without having learned something. So I do what I do.

But the powers that be will come up to me and ask, “So why aren’t you doing research? Why aren’t you publishing anything?” As if I had that kind of time…

So frustration builds up and I wanna scream bloody hell, but I can’t… because I have a colleague who is under the same pressure as me, the some workload as me… but still manages to publish. I wonder all the time, How the hell does she do it? She’s making me look pretty bad… I once talked to a colleague from another department and he explained it thusly: She’s a woman

to be continued…

Message in a Bottle I

April 25, 2006

I

have been on Xanga for almost three years and the number of people I have come in contact with is rather staggering. I don’t think I can put a number on it, but there are more than a handful I have communicated with through Planet Xanga. I mean, I have probably met more people through Xanga than I have through my regular dealings at school–well, except for students of course…

In a very real way, it is a way of breaking away from the monotony of work. Of course, one of the greatest satisfactions of being on Xanga was interacting with many of you through comments. Unfortunately, I have been kept very busy at work as of late, and I barely have time to update my own site, let alone visit other sites to leave a comment or even to just say “hello”. So this is my message in a bottle to you guys.

Hello guys! How are things? Going well? Work keeping you busy? School getting harder? How was your vacation? Still walking your dog? How’s married life? Still looking for a girl/boy friend? Anyway, I’m fine, albeit beat, but I will drop by soonest. Love ya’.
–the O-man

Okay, I admit that was pretty pathetic. But I am beat these days. Enough that I’ve kinda decided to not teach this summer. *horrors!* I haven’t taken a break since 1999, teaching Fall semester, then Spring semester, starting the summer session the day after graduation and going on until the second second week of August, only to start the cycle all over again with the Fall semester. I’m bushed.

Deja vu Alert!–I just had a bad case of deja vu! I could swear I wrote the above paragraph elsewhere. Not wanting to repeat myself, I checked here and my other sites to see where, but I can’t seem to find it… If anyone knows, please let me know…

Anway, I’ve already commited to teaching this summer, but I think a colleague of mine may want to teach in my place, and I will gladly hand over the reins. It will mean less money for me–were talking a significant amount–but I think my health is more important.

Of course, this might mean more time spent on Xanga.

I Swear, I’m Normal… Sorta

April 23, 2006

R

eally. I am not abnormal. I am not some Cleanliness-Is-Next-to-Godliness Nazi trying to sterilize the world (see yesterday’s entry). If anyone one of you were to come to my office, you’d notice it is a mess. I have been know to go showerless over the weekend, if I don’t leave the house. I’ll wear the same clothes from Friday to Sunday, much to M’s chagrin… Wait, did I just say I was not abnormal? Okay, maybe I am a little, but not because I’m a clean freak…

All my life, I’ve lived under non-sterile conditions. I grew up in a time when playing outside in the mud or the local lake or the public sand box was the norm. I remember that we used to wash our pots and dishes with sand when we went camping–as if detergent would pollute the environment but cooking oils and other human food stuffs wouldn’t. I practiced the 5 second rule before it became popular. Brush it off if its dry or rinse it with water if its wet, then pop it in the mouth. Although I don’t do this anymore, I am not so queasy about most conditions–whether physiologically or mentally.

Sharing food with other is no big deal either. I’m sure many of my Asian brothers and sisters–okay, nephews and nieces–were taught to use the back side of the chopsticks when picking food from a communal plate. Well, not in my family, and even with a lot of my friends in Japan. No need to flip them over–we’re all family, y’know? I’ve shared many a pop bottle and later beer cans with friends without even thinking of wiping it clean. Although I draw the line with those who string out saliva as they pull the drink away from their mouths. I must admit that looks pretty gross, don’t you think? But still, when I’m among friends, we are family without a doubt.

But even among family members, there are limits. When I used to change my daughters diapers, I always washed my hands afterwards. If a family member forgot to flush the toilet, they would get dressed down at the dinner table. When preparing food, we must all wash our hands first, and when we prepare chicken or fish, the plastic cutting board always gets a thorough cleaning before any vegetables come in contact with it. It’s the unknown foreign bacteria that I am afraid of these days. Salmonella, E coli. Yes, these and whatever other bacteria may be lurking around public restrooms.

So I hope I have convinced some of you that I am not overly anal (no pun intended) about cleanliness, but certain situations must be addressed with cleanliness in mind…

Truth AND Dare

Caz, one of the sites I read, used to play Truth or Dare pretty regularly with her readers. I have participated once or twice, but I was wondering if maybe some of you would like to try some Truth AND Dare. For those of you who sometimes forget–or forgo–flushing the public urinal (I have to believe that you all wash your hands, right?) and think its no big deal, I dare you to admit this to your girlfriend or mother or sister, and report their reactions here or on your own site. Any takers?

I Swear, I’m Normal… Sorta

April 23, 2006

R

eally. I am not abnormal. I am not some Cleanliness-Is-Next-to-Godliness Nazi trying to sterilize the world (see yesterday’s entry). If anyone one of you were to come to my office, you’d notice it is a mess. I have been know to go showerless over the weekend, if I don’t leave the house. I’ll wear the same clothes from Friday to Sunday, much to M’s chagrin… Wait, did I just say I was not abnormal? Okay, maybe I am a little, but not because I’m a clean freak…

All my life, I’ve lived under non-sterile conditions. I grew up in a time when playing outside in the mud or the local lake or the public sand box was the norm. I remember that we used to wash our pots and dishes with sand when we went camping–as if detergent would pollute the environment but cooking oils and other human food stuffs wouldn’t. I practiced the 5 second rule before it became popular. Brush it off if its dry or rinse it with water if its wet, then pop it in the mouth. Although I don’t do this anymore, I am not so queasy about most conditions–whether physiologically or mentally.

Sharing food with other is no big deal either. I’m sure many of my Asian brothers and sisters–okay, nephews and nieces–were taught to use the back side of the chopsticks when picking food from a communal plate. Well, not in my family, and even with a lot of my friends in Japan. No need to flip them over–we’re all family, y’know? I’ve shared many a pop bottle and later beer cans with friends without even thinking of wiping it clean. Although I draw the line with those who string out saliva as they pull the drink away from their mouths. I must admit that looks pretty gross, don’t you think? But still, when I’m among friends, we are family without a doubt.

But even among family members, there are limits. When I used to change my daughters diapers, I always washed my hands afterwards. If a family member forgot to flush the toilet, they would get dressed down at the dinner table. When preparing food, we must all wash our hands first, and when we prepare chicken or fish, the plastic cutting board always gets a thorough cleaning before any vegetables come in contact with it. It’s the unknown foreign bacteria that I am afraid of these days. Salmonella, E coli. Yes, these and whatever other bacteria may be lurking around public restrooms.

So I hope I have convinced some of you that I am not overly anal (no pun intended) about cleanliness, but certain situations must be addressed with cleanliness in mind…

Truth AND Dare

Caz, one of the sites I read, used to play Truth or Dare pretty regularly with her readers. I have participated once or twice, but I was wondering if maybe some of you would like to try some Truth AND Dare. For those of you who sometimes forget–or forgo–flushing the public urinal (I have to believe that you all wash your hands, right?) and think its no big deal, I dare you to admit this to your girlfriend or mother or sister, and report their reactions here or on your own site. Any takers?

I Swear, I’m Normal… Sorta

April 23, 2006

R

eally. I am not abnormal. I am not some Cleanliness-Is-Next-to-Godliness Nazi trying to sterilize the world (see yesterday’s entry). If anyone one of you were to come to my office, you’d notice it is a mess. I have been know to go showerless over the weekend, if I don’t leave the house. I’ll wear the same clothes from Friday to Sunday, much to M’s chagrin… Wait, did I just say I was not abnormal? Okay, maybe I am a little, but not because I’m a clean freak…

All my life, I’ve lived under non-sterile conditions. I grew up in a time when playing outside in the mud or the local lake or the public sand box was the norm. I remember that we used to wash our pots and dishes with sand when we went camping–as if detergent would pollute the environment but cooking oils and other human food stuffs wouldn’t. I practiced the 5 second rule before it became popular. Brush it off if its dry or rinse it with water if its wet, then pop it in the mouth. Although I don’t do this anymore, I am not so queasy about most conditions–whether physiologically or mentally.

Sharing food with other is no big deal either. I’m sure many of my Asian brothers and sisters–okay, nephews and nieces–were taught to use the back side of the chopsticks when picking food from a communal plate. Well, not in my family, and even with a lot of my friends in Japan. No need to flip them over–we’re all family, y’know? I’ve shared many a pop bottle and later beer cans with friends without even thinking of wiping it clean. Although I draw the line with those who string out saliva as they pull the drink away from their mouths. I must admit that looks pretty gross, don’t you think? But still, when I’m among friends, we are family without a doubt.

But even among family members, there are limits. When I used to change my daughters diapers, I always washed my hands afterwards. If a family member forgot to flush the toilet, they would get dressed down at the dinner table. When preparing food, we must all wash our hands first, and when we prepare chicken or fish, the plastic cutting board always gets a thorough cleaning before any vegetables come in contact with it. It’s the unknown foreign bacteria that I am afraid of these days. Salmonella, E coli. Yes, these and whatever other bacteria may be lurking around public restrooms.

So I hope I have convinced some of you that I am not overly anal (no pun intended) about cleanliness, but certain situations must be addressed with cleanliness in mind…

Truth AND Dare

Caz, one of the sites I read, used to play Truth or Dare pretty regularly with her readers. I have participated once or twice, but I was wondering if maybe some of you would like to try some Truth AND Dare. For those of you who sometimes forget–or forgo–flushing the public urinal (I have to believe that you all wash your hands, right?) and think its no big deal, I dare you to admit this to your girlfriend or mother or sister, and report their reactions here or on your own site. Any takers?

I Won’t Be Shaking His Hands

April 22, 2006

P

reviously, I have written about the bad urinal habit of some men at school. I hate the idea of toilet plumes filling the air with little droplets of urine. I hate to piss even more into someone else’s piss–because he lacked the courtesy to flush his own–splattering our mixed piss onto my clothes–If you think splatter doesn’t get onto you to some degree, you’re fooling yourself. So I will flush before I piss, but the thought of the pluming droplets being someone else’s urine is enough to make me want to hold it until I get home.

Anyway, not flushing after yourself is a pretty disgusting habit. But I sometimes gave these guys the benefit of the doubt: Public toilets are pretty filthy and no one really wants to touch anything not attached to their own body. So the other day, I walk into the head to take a leak and there’s a guy who is just finishing. Of course, he doesn’t flush. But I figure he’s one of those clean freaks, unwilling to touch anything in the restroom. Still, I would think that you would have to at least touch the water faucet to wash your hands, right? Well, out of the corner of my eye, I watch this dude stop in front of the mirror, fix his hair a bit, pick his nose, and leave… WITHOUT WASHING HIS HANDS!

Oh my freakin’ God!

I’m kinda stunned as I try to figure out what I just witnessed. The toilet handle is too dirty to flush his own piss, but his dick–and of course the very fingers he was just holding them with–were clean enough to touch up his hair and pick his nose. Where do these guys come from? I think our school should make a hygiene class a part of the General Curriculum Requirement. No one should graduate a university without realizing how discourteous it is to not flush after one’s self, and how FILTHY it is to not wash hands.

But at that moment, all I could think of was: Omigod! Where is he going? To class? Is he going hand in a paper to his professor with fingers filmy with his urine and snot? Will he sit at a desk, leaving his germs for the next student to wipe up? Will he put his arms around his girl friend’s bare shoulder? Will he shake your hand? Will you then shake mine? Oh crap, this is disgusting! Do any of my students practice these very same habits? Handing in papers to me? Coming into my office? Sitting in my chairs? Touching my books? OooOoOoooOoh!

The thoughts were swirling around my brain so fast, that I got dizzy and almost missed the urinal myself. O-toh-toh-toh. Nice save. After I finished and flushed, I washed my hands extra vigorously, seemingly to wash enough for him and me. But in reality I was probably trying to wash the images out of my mind vicariously through my hands.

Anyway, not to put too fine a point on it–When you’re in a public toilet, please flush after yourself, and definitely wash your hands after you use the toilet.

This has been an unpaid public service announcement.