Tuesday, January 01, 2008

an interesting start to the new year

Happy 2008! (Not quite yet for you guys in DC, but you'll be there in less than two hours.)

We'll note that it's cold outside-- cold enough that, when I rub my nipples, the nipple hairs just snap off.

Next, we'll note that my office gave me some potentially bad news: while we have a very large number of freshmen coming in for Freshman English, we have very few registrants for all other courses. I had been hoping to avoid teaching Frosh English (a task we had handed off to the department across campus), but was informed yesterday that, if the regular numbers don't go up by the end of Thursday, I and my colleagues might be stuck with teaching a few frosh classes. This pisses me off because I haven't planned a thing for Frosh English, and now I'm going to have to start doing so. The meta-suck is that it might turn out that such planning won't be necessary, which means that I might start planning a Frosh English course, then have to trash it all.

We have this sort of problem every semester, but the numbers usually even out at the last minute as the stragglers get their acts together and register. I've been trying, repeatedly, to get the office to move the registration period forward a couple weeks so that we teachers have a firm idea what the student numbers are well before we start planning, but the office seems to think that breaking with tradition is either too difficult or just plain impossible. Once again, in this term as in others, I'm left banging my head against the wall. We do placement interviews tomorrow and Thursday; classes begin on Monday. As usual, we'll have the normal Monday fuckups regarding classroom numbers and mis-enrolled students ("Is this Level 1? No? Oh, sorry!"), but I'm hoping everything will have smoothed itself out by Wednesday of next week (the 9th).

So that's a buzzkill.

In lighter news, though, the Maven has sent me a hilarious link to BlahblahFish, a site that is parasitic on the AltaVista BabelFish translation program. BlahblahFish takes whatever sentence(s) you write, translates it (them) into another language from a limited set of drop-down menu options, then retranslates the text back into English. The results, as you might imagine, can be hilarious, and users are encouraged to post gems. Go visit the site, try some sentences of your own (the more sexual, the better, it seems), and take a gander at the little "hall of fame" by scrolling down.

Happy New Year, folks. If "well begun is half done," as the old folks say, then my year is already off to a shaky start.


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