26 February 2007

Flex!

Since my last weigh in, I'm down 3% body fat (and up two pounds, but I suspect that's muscle).

So, looks like I'll be staying on the low-sugar, low-flour diet and keeping up with the yoga and the other exercising goodies.

Whee! Clothes are already fitting better, and I'm getting in the right mindset. I am also in desperate need of more Stash lemon tea, as the starfruit tea just tastes... odd.

My grand plan? Become the incredible shrinking woman over the next semester, get down to at least 150 (preferably 135-140) by graduation. The real goal? That I have to take a good chunk of my summer earnings to cover a new wardrobe. (Granted, I'll probably use my mad sewing skillz to modify a number of skirts and tops, but still...)

Yep. I'm working on not being that fat chick.

25 February 2007

Grading

Today was grading day. Whee! (Ugh.)

I actually gave out a few full points in one of my classes. Either the word has gotten out, or I've got a few students that are just with it.

As a counterpoint, I had one student that, when scraping all the points I could find for her, received a 10%. But wait, it gets better. She turned the assignment in late, which is an automatic 10% deduction. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a math whiz, but I'm pretty sure that the maths go like this:
0.10-0.10=0.00

Yeah. I feel bad because she did put some effort and time into the assignment. Not a whole lot, but some. But, like when it comes to the end of the semester, I can't cry over giving an "F" - but I still have that fleeting moment of thinking, "was there some way I could have reached that student?" It's easier in face-to-face, it really is. And I'm not sure which type of teaching I prefer. Face to face forces me to think on my feet, which I really like... But I sometimes get home from teaching and go "oh, damn, did I pull that out of my ass or is it true?"

Tomorrow is to be devoted to going through two new textbooks and weigh in on which one I'd prefer to use for future history courses. Believe me, anything will be an improvement over this text. Though I suspect that it's not going to be by much.

I wonder if there's a way that instructors are supposed to review textbooks for possible use. All I know is that I got 'em for free, and then I can apparently sell 'em back to the bookseller for $15. I'm a little conflicted. I love books, textbooks, the whole nine yards. But it's free money. Like really free money. Then Heinlein pops up in my head saying TANSTAAFL!

Yeah. That's my life.

...I wonder if they'll ever want to turn my class into one for the prisons on the web. I should ask. It'd be kinda fun. I think I'd like to go by a pseudonym for that, though.

Adjunct Slave Gets... Fit?

Well, after much thought and deliberation, I'd like to be a size 8 again. Size 6 would be nice, but rather impossible short of shaving bone. So, in that vein, I've started doing exercise along with my "eat healthy" diet. (Need to pick up some brown rice, though.)

Yoga kicked my ass today. As in sweat rolling down the face. I decided to get back into yoga because it was low impact! Have I really gotten that much out of shape?Nirvair would be so disappointed. So yeah. Namaste Yoga in the morning. Pushups and sit ups before dinner. Kundalhini Yoga before bed. At least my lean muscles will be getting toned. Once I find/purchase a new jump rope, I'll be getting cardio that way, too.

God. If I quit drinking and quit swearing, I'd be perfect. And then the world would implode because that's the 7th sign of the Apocalypse.

21 February 2007

Lesson For Today...

It is possible to have violent, wracking sobs in the adjunct office quietly enough where students don't notice the noise. They will, however, ask after the loud nose-blowing. Thank goodness it was windy today and allergies were a valid enough excuse.

It was a bitch of a day.

12 February 2007

England v. Alabama



Just o.O

Further proof that I'm a Northerner at heart. Someone says something I disagree with, I try to talk them to death, not... Well, just watch.

[Thanks to Lizzu for the link.]

Success!

I am booked for Spring Break! Providence/Boston here I come!

And about damned time. I've been in desperate need of getting out of this town for something other than a family-related holiday. I haven't been on a solo holiday in nearly two years. And I haven't been on a solo holiday that lasted more than a long weekend in six. In fact, the last solo holiday I went on was my trip to Australia for Spring Break, 2001.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that this trip to the east coast also includes a date/meeting/thing with an old friend from 20 years ago. And some time spent with friends that I haven't seen in three or four years. Yes, I'll have to do the obligatory "look at universities I applied to" thing while I'm there, though I'm limited as to which ones I look at. (Sorry, Cornell, Penn, and Michigan, you're a little too far away to hit this trip.)

I'm booked!

I'm far too excited about this. However, it is one more stressor that has been relieved.

...Now to figure out how to pack for a week and a half in a hiking pack or duffle bag, after all, I'm going to be transiting between Providence and Boston for places to stay and lugging around a proper suitcase seems excessive to me... I also need to find out where my backpack is.

[Edit: Backpack found! I have no idea if it'll fit what I plan on bringing. I'll have to do a test run after laundry this weekend.]

Some things are too good not to share...

For my Doctor Who fans out there, there's some decent fanart, and I'm here to present you with the links...

The Doctor's Girls
(by mimi-na on DeviantArt)
This is awesome. It's basically a chibi rendition of all the female companions that had some emotional attachment to the Doctor.

omg DOCTORZ (by mimi-na on DeviantArt)
Quasi-chibi, mostly caricature. Of the two "new" doctors that don't run the risk of being fuzzy in my mind, her rendition of Eccleston is more identifiable to me. Tennant, there's something not quite right about him - I think it's the eyes.
All in all, though, I love the concept. It shows the variation in Doctors over the years.

[Thanks to Tweedlekeys for the links.]

It was the day of the great race...

From Wired News: February 12, 1908 - The Great Race.

This article is the win for one reason and one reason alone. This quote:

"In the end, it was the Americans who reached Paris first, at 6 p.m. on July 30. Order of finish: The U.S., Germany, Italy and France. Almost like World War II."

I don't hate France, or the French. Most of the French people I know are quite nice. I dislike Parisians, though... And so do most of my French friends. We all know it wasn't the French that came in last in World War II, it was the Parisians - they just took the rest of France with them. *ducks*1

1This is completely tongue in cheek. I've only ever met one Parisian and I did not like her. (Mme. Riggs, if you're reading, you're a sour old coot that needs to get a sense of humor!) (Edit: Actually, Mme. Riggs, if you're reading this, you're far more hip than I realized, and that gets e-cookies at the very least. I'm still not happy with you for kicking me out of French class in Jr. High just because I was overtired and spoke French with a German accent. I'm sorry you were in Paris when Hitler marched through the Arc d'Triomphe, but that's no reason to get mad at me. I didn't know.)

11 February 2007

Heroes of the Republic

I'm still not in love with the new Octavian. I think that Max Perkis would have persisted in doing an admirable job as the (forgive the mixed timelines this next statement evokes) Machiavellian prodigy personae of Octavian pre-Augustus Caesar.

We finally get some clues as to timeline in this episode! Octavian is referred to as being 19, that puts us at around 44 B.C. - but wait, we have a problem! 44 B.C. was the year of the death of Julius Caesar! And didn't they have little Octy (Max Perkis' Octavian will hereby be referred to as "Octy" or "Octavian v. 1.0") ride off after getting bitchslapped by Antony? Here's where we start to decrypt the oddities of Roman political society in the 1st century B.C.

[Warning, history lesson content ahead!]

Gaius Julius Caesar (Octavian) was declared consul suffectus around 44 B.C., engaged in military and political skirmishes, Octavian pissed off a great many equites and senators when the triumverate started proscriptions that removed a great deal of their property and wealth. Whoops!

Fast forward to 31 B.C. Octavian marches on Rome after being successful against Cleopatra and Marc Antony in Egypt. There, he is appointed consul, but not given the role of dictator by the Senate... Yet. It takes Octavian another 4 years before he completes the transformation into Augustus Caesar, and even then, we're still not at the "Emperor Augustus" phase of the Roman world.

In 27 B.C., Octavian relinquishes control of Egypt and returns the reins of power in Rome to the Senate. In return, Octavian is granted the titles of Augustus and Princeps. Princeps means "first citizen," and is frequently attributed to the beginning of the Augustan Age of Rome (the first part of the Pax Romana), but it's still not quite to Emperor.

In the ultimate P.R. campaign, Octavian changes his name to Augustus to show himself as a benign and benevolent ruler, as opposed to the 17 years of warfare that he engaged upon in the belief that it was for the benefit of Rome.

[End History Lesson Content]

Another clue as to timestamp! We (come close to the) close of the episode with Atia (who, I suspect, was as devious as we are led to believe, though might not been a bedwarmer of Antony's) forcing Antony into a meeting with Octavian v. 2.0 (he's not Augustus, yet!). This gives a whiff of the beginning of the Second Triumverate (that little get-together boys' club of Marc Antony, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Gaius Julius Caesar (Octavian) - this is a historical oddity that they don't point out, but rather refer to pre-Augustus Octavian as "Gaius Octavian Caesar" - bah!).

So, best I can tell, we're spanning 44 and 43 B.C. in this episode.

What about my opinions on Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo? Well, they were real people, but there wasn't a whole lot of "let's follow these people" by historians past the journals kept by Julius Caesar. In the British fashion of showing the dichotomy of society, we are treated to glimpses of the everyman as represented by Vorenus and Pullo. After the Gallic Wars, no one much followed the lives of Vorenus and Pullo, so this is all subjective fantasy. After all, it is ultimately a television show, and we have to have some level of grab to it - as wonderful as the Caesarian plot twists are, they're a bit out of grasp to follow for the entire hour.

Were the Bacchanalian festivals really like they were depicted? Hell if I know. Historically, we're limited to artwork to describe religious occasions, and those were generally showing the average (read: government sanctioned) festival, not necessarily those of the elite or the poor. I did, however, think Agrippa's "abduction" of Octavia was sweet, and his romantic sentiment towards Octavia just means that I feel so much worse for him when the harsh reality of Octavia's future kicks in. :(

Yeah, the latent romantic in me sighed contentedly when he said "I would tear down the sky for you if you asked me to." Really does make me feel sorry for him in the inevitable disappointment that he'll experience. The cynic in me rears her ugly head at this point and says, "but that is the typical way of it. If everyone had their interest returned, the entire frustration about relationships wouldn't exist as it does in humanity." Reality lies somewhere in the middle.

Things to look forward to in episodes to come, if they don't deviate from the historical rolls... Octavia is married off by Octavian to someone that makes today's dysfunctional families look downright sensible. There will be a political suicide here and there. Marriage, divorce, marriage, birth, divorce, marriage. (What, you thought Americans or modern day society had the lock on serial monogamy? Please. The Romans had this down to a science!) We're also going to (hopefully) get to see the true ruthlessness of my beloved Octavian Caesar.


[Fangirl Crank Upcoming]

I still maintain that they should have kept Max Perkis for the role of Octavian. There's something delightfully wrong about Perkis' characterization of Octavian - he has that je ne sais quoi about him, where you believe the intellect and the clinical aspects of his mind, but there's also that odd appeal where he's still insecure but he has the false confidence where it doesn't show through. This new actor, Woods, for Octavian shows a little too much nervousness. Octavian was stubborn, ruthless, idealistic, and calculating. This new actor wavers too much between insecurity and ruthless, but without that Machiavellian panache that Perkis brought to the role. Perkis' representation was angrier in a way that made sense for the character.

I'm also a fangirl for Perkis, but that's beside the point. I just don't believe Woods' characterization of Octavian.

[End Fangirl Crank]

I can't quite tell what timespan they're aiming for with this season of Rome. We ended Season 1 on 15 March 44 B.C. Five episodes in to Season 2 and we're at sometime in 43 B.C., I suspect we're around March again, as it's the end of the Warring Months (but I highly doubt that Antony or Octavian would respect those traditions). By this time of Season 1, we'd covered 49/48 B.C. to around 46 B.C. (I could be mistaken, I haven't been obsessively watching Season 1 recently.

Personally, I'd love to see them get to the beginning of the Augustan Era, but I suspect that they'll leave the climax with the conquest of Antony and Cleopatra in 31 B.C. That's a lot of time to cover in the next 7 episodes if they stick with the 12 episode season standard.

07 February 2007

300

movieposter_9868

March is really too far away (Thanks to Dr. D for pointing out the poster.)

This movie is going to be beautiful. Here's hoping they don't try to turn it into a chick flick with a love interest that doesn't make a damned bit of difference to the plot. Give me the violence. The war. The blood. The gore. I don't need sex in my violence. Not this time.

03 February 2007

Obsess much?

[This space was previously taken up by way random personal "I suck" stuff. I still suck, but it's uncool to blather about this on a blog that is reserved for historical, computer information systems, teaching, and other associated snark.]

Back to the historical content.

During the clean up, I found my Atlas of World History. Maybe my students will remember that Turkey used to be Anatolia. That Philip II was from Macedonia (and no, it's not something dealing with really old elephants). And that it's not that big of a deal that the Greeks (and Romans) were into buggery.

Tomorrow must be devoted to two things. 1. Not sitting by the Internet waiting for an email. (How chick of me is that? Ew.) 2. Massive prepwork for Alexander the Fabulous Great. It's as close to an Emperor Fabulous that we're gonna get.

Oh. And I am one sexy bitch.

Oh noes! Ancient Greeks were gay!

Cut and paste from an email to a friend on the day's events.

On Thursdays, I have a discussion period for my face to face history course (Western Civ I). Today's discussion was on the Greeks. I ask the students to point out something that excited them about the chapter and we'll talk about it. It started off mellow enough... The role of women, the development of sundials, astronomy, the pantheon of gods and heroes, the highly ritualized manner of Greek life...

And then a student asked about "Greek homosexuality."

Did I mention that I'm in a very conservative part of the country?

So, 30 minutes of the class period was taken up by discussion about the social nature of Greek homosexuality, homosexuality in the warrior culture of the Greeks, etc. That then led into the discussion about courtesans (or, as my class came to think of them, "highly educated whores"), prostitution (hey, it's the world's oldest profession), and sexuality in Greek culture in general. Do you have any idea how odd it is to be a female instructor and discuss how "who penetrates who" worked in ancient Greece?

Apparently I'm teaching an ancient cultures human sexuality course.Who knew?

We also talked about the development of the arch, the Parthenon, the Pnyx, Plato, Socrates ("I was thinking of the last words of Socrates when he said, 'I drank what?'" - they didn't get it), and all sorts of other Greek goodness.

Today's class was interesting.

I also had to correct a student's behaviour in CIS. He's trying to show a willingness to participate - unfortunately it displays as wanting to talk constantly. If he wants to do that, he should take the route I did - go teach. :) Hopefully my little chat with him didn't result in a crisis or complaint. I pointed out that it was distracting to other students and to me, and when he talks *while* I'm lecturing, it comes across as being disrespectful. That's when he said "I'm just trying to participate!" I had to explain that participating is good, but it must be tempered with proper timing. He was a little sensitive about the entire thing. The seat has not proven to be cursed... Yet. I'm still holding out hope. (That sounds so horrid, but he just keeps talking and not really contributing to the class. Something must change.)

I also had my perpetually late student come in and ask during the break "can I take the quiz?" No, you were late. "But I work!" Yes, and it wasn't hidden that the class starts at 2 pm. You made your choice on how you're approaching your education. It's not fair for me to allow you to take a late quiz when no one else is able to. *Cue slight crying* Look, come up with a solution that I can use for everyone else that missed the quiz and we'll do it this *once*. "Uh. Can I do the assignments on the web course and turn those in for the chapters?" (We're talking at least double, if not triple the work.) Sure. Go ahead. You have until Tuesday.

*sigh*

Sometimes I just want to shake 'em and say "look, you made your decision of what's more important, suck it up and deal with it!"