Monday, September 29, 2008

Anti-Darwinian Warnings

We finally just installed a CO detector. The instructions with the detector note in BIG BOLD TYPE:

Warning! Silencing the CO alarm does not eliminate the source of carbon monoxide!

While Lord knows I've made incredibly stupid use of common household tools and/or failed to understand the use of common appliances ... this seems like one of those warnings that maybe is preventing the gene pool from some self-chlorination.

Men Need Sheltering

Mr. McGee was there for part of my book club last night. It's possible he's scarred for life, as topics of discussion ranged from the gynecological to ones that just provoked hysterical, gasping laughter from the women and a look of wide-eyed puzzlement from him. Men really shouldn't be exposed to women in groups. It's not good for them.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Orange Update

When Orange Cat was first diagnosed with kidney failure, they didn't think he'd make it to August. It's almost October now. He's still pretty happy, but he's moving somewhat gingerly now, and he's starting to have some more bladder problems. When he went to the vet this week, his kidneys were deteriorating faster than they had been. He looks so sadly thin.

But he's still doing his Orange thing and finding people to snuggle up against and sunbeams to sit in.

By my count, he's cheated death four times now: being abandoned, being left in the shelter past his "euthanize" date -- they only kept them 30 days at that shelter, but he was so sweet tempered they kept him well past that even with his one eye and stubby tail -- getting his diabetes under control, and now outliving his kidney diagnosis by two months and counting. So he's a pretty lucky cat any way you look at it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blogger Bash

It's time for another Blogger Bash, bloggerinos.

For those who've never been, we all get together on the fifth Tuesday in months when there are a fifth Tuesday (because City Council doesn't meet when there's a fifth Tuesday), and drink, chat, shout, etc. It's a good time and it is, as my mother says, a real slice. (Which means a slice of life. Which means there are some characters there.)

You don't need to be a blogger to show up; we've had commenters, random students, local pols, city employees, MSM folks, the people working on the new city logo, etc.

And you do not, contrary to popular belief, need to buy Billy drinks.

This month's bash begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at Richard’s On Main, 311 Main Street in downtown Peoria.

It's slightly tricky to find, but you know that place on Main Street across from the courthouse where it looks like there's a subway entrance, which doesn't totally register because many cities have subways so it's a normal city-looking thing, and then you remember Peoria doesn't have a subway, and you go, "What the heck is that about?" That's the entrance to Richard's on Main, down the subway-looking stairs to the lower level. I guess you can get in from inside the building too.

I'll be arriving a little later, probably between 7 and 8 p.m., but I'll be there!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ah, The Young Padawans

They're catching on to me too quickly. I asked, "What color are carrots?"

About half the class uncertainly mumbled, "Orange?"

About a quarter of the class cried out, almost simultaneously, "Every color but orange!"

And about a quarter of the class flatly refused to answer on the grounds it was a trick question.

I said, "Okay, guys, if this WEREN'T a philosophy class and you WEREN'T assuming I was asking a trick question, what color are carrots?"

Only then would they all agree, arguendo, that carrots are orange.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fall Music Festival: Venue Change

Live Music Peoria forwards on this information about tomorrow's Fall Music Festival:

Well, because of the beautiful weather we are changing the Live Music Peoria, Fall Festival to the Opera House at Expo Gardens. We will still have a beer tent, and we will have shelter!!!

See my original post for full info!

Student Behavior

This semester I've had an unusual number of student bad behavior issues, and it's only the third week. Most of them have revolved around e-mail. Without getting specific, I've gotten winners like the student who uses an e-mail address like "sexyboy69@yahoo" which is not only relatively inappropriate to send from when you're sending to a prof, but means I can't see his name. The subject line is "yo" and the body is something like, "What's that paper for class?"

I e-mailed this student back, saying, "Who are you? Which class? What paper?" and got back angry invective from the student for my failure to answer his question. (If he has so much faith in my psychic abilities, shouldn't he fear sending anonymous invective?)

I had a student contact my dean complaining that I hadn't resolved her non-emergency non-problem fast enough when I had assured her I had to working down a list (with actual emergencies and actual problems ranking above her) and I would get to her long before her issue became a problem. She e-mailed me five times and left two frantic voice mails in the space of 24 hours (on a weekend!) demanding I fix her non-emergency non-problem immediately.

I keep having students e-mail me at 10 p.m. on a Wednesday night saying, "can u email me back plz right away what is the reading for tomorrow? so i can get it done b4 class. this is important so respond quick. thx." Then they become incensed when I don't respond until Thursday morning, an hour or two before they have to be in class. As if it's somehow my fault they didn't write down the reading and didn't think to e-mail me about it until late Wednesday night.

I've even had a student complain very sarcastically that I was somehow directly responsible for a campus-wide e-mail outage.

It's a minority of students behaving this way, and there's always a mannerless minority of students, but it's an unusually large minority this semester. I had a come-to-Jesus with my classes yesterday about appropriate e-mail etiquette and descriptive subject lines and response times and things that are and are not within my God-like powers, which made me feel surprisingly better. I was slightly anxious that they'd all turn on my like hyenas, but in fact most of them were appalled by the bad behavior and sympathetic -- and just as glad to know *exactly* what I wanted.

I'm experimenting with a few technology-based ways to cut down on the number of questions that students can answer for each other instead of turning to me. I'm hopeful!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Fall Music Festival

Next Saturday, make sure you check out the Fall Music Festival in Glen Oak Park. Starting at 2 p.m. and running until late, at the Ampitheater, the fest honors Dan Fogelberg (Fogelberg is fun to say) and features:

* 2pm Doors open / children's activities begin
* 3pm Ralph's World performance
* 4pm Ralph's World autograph session
* 4:30pm Dave McDonald
* 5pm Lollester Rocket / beer garden opens
* 6pm The Peoria Acoustic All Stars: A Tribute to Dan Fogelberg
* 8pm John Sebastian

Cover: Children 12 and under $7; Adults: $20/advance, $25/door

The Peoria PlayHouse will be on hand providing children's programming throughout the festival. Moreover, the Peoria PlayHouse will receive $4 for each adult ticket and $2 for each child's ticket sold by the Junior League of Peoria. Tickets are available at Please select JLPADULT or JLPCHILD when purchasing your tickets online (and use JLPADULT or JLPCHILD as the password) to ensure your tickets are tracked with those sold by the JLP. (Direct link to tickets.)

Lots more info at Live Music Peoria, which is doing a fantastic job promoting live shows in the area. Check them out!

UPDATE: Venue change, due to weather: Well, because of the beautiful weather we are changing the Live Music Peoria, Fall Festival to the Opera House at Expo Gardens. We will still have a beer tent, and we will have shelter!!!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Reading: Dorian Grey

I just finished The Picture of Dorian Gray, which for whatever reason I had never read before. Never read any Oscar Wilde before, I don't think. Anyway, I really enjoyed it, and only had one complaint: Wilde hints about the horrible debauchery that Dorian gets up to, but only actually tells us about murders and opium. How is that fair?