Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Day 07 (Round II) "In the trenches" ("12 Angry Men"-not-so-much edition)

It's come to this: gotta use "landscape" framing on The Office photo in order to fit in the two laptops necessary to keep ahead of the semester's breaking wave.

Lost eight hours yesterday for the weekly meeting of the grand jury for which I was empaneled. It's a huge bitch of a problem to lose forty hours over a five-Tuesday month--I can't spare forty hours--but I should be counting several blessings: it comes on a Tuesday, which is virtually the only day I could possibly afford (our undergrad music history classes are on a MWF schedule, grads on TR, and graduate students can function more effectively with distance-direction); the GJ gets a lunch break which the district attorney is permitting me to take at a time when the Tuesday seminar meets); Tuesday nights are an open night so I can catch up 4-5 evening hours on the work lost that day.

And, finally, I'm not the only "prevention and/or rehabilitation is better than incarceration" DFH* on the panel. Which means that I can, when I believe it's called for, vote for "No Bill" (e.g., "no bill of indictment for this crime") without having to deal excessively with an 11-1 split, or a bunch of timid small-town folks thinking I must be a "Commonist" for not wanting (hypothetically) to send some 18 year old kid with 1/10 gram of crack and no priors to jail for three fucking years.

Can't say much more than that while the jury is still meeting, but I supposed I'm counting my blessings.

Other stuff: teaching Freshman "Introduction to Research and Style" class: Wednesday of the second week, after a long Labor Day weekend, and what we need to do is shock them into remembering that no, last week was not a dream, this really is college, and yes, it's not a nightmare, college really is this hard. No need to scare 'em--but damned sure important to serious-'em-up.

So I had the elaborate and beautiful, low-text high-visual-stimulus PowerPoint ready to go, and a great couple of video illustrations to make the medicine go down, and I walked into our large, smart-classroomed teaching hall, and the technology did. Not. Work.


Well, these are the environments in which we separate the sheep from the goats, I guess, so I said "all right, y'all..we are gonna be kickin' it old school this time. We got no technology, so this is going to be a lecture in how to take lecture notes." And we talked about the Cornell note-taking template (something similar to what I learned 20 years ago, when I realized that on the then state-of-the-art MS DOS WordPerfect program, if I re-typed all my hand-written notes, I could do an "F12" command and search for keywords), which I only ran into last spring and instantly glommed-onto as a fantastic way to take modern kids' multi-window multi-media multi-tasking information processing and render it into a 2-dimensional visual form.

I'm still mourning my "Mad Skillz for Study Ninjas" slide (complete with little cartoon ninja brandishing a samurai sword over a computer keyboard), but I sent them out of the room singing NRBQ's "12-Bar Blues", so I guess the day wasn't a total loss.

Below the jump: Mister Man in his favorite afternoon chair. Below that, storm-fringes at a South Plains dawn.
Now playing: NRBQ - 12 Bar Blues
via FoxyTunes

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