New Adventures in Dieting: Back on track again (but I might need a new scale…)

-14.5 or -16 pounds or so

I think there are two things that have put me back on track in terms of the diet. First, school has started, and I have found myself at work without time or even interest in eating. In other words, there’s no “I have nothing else to do– I think I’ll eat something” kind of eating. Second, I’ve been able to get to the gym again pretty regularly.

Still, I might need to get a new scale. It has always been somewhat suspect because moving it around a bit or stepping on it at a slightly different angle can change things by a pound or more. But it seems to be doing that more lately. And besides that, going back to the gym again makes me wonder about the accuracy of it. They have one of those “doctor office” kinds of scales in the locker room. The last time I got on it, I was at about -16. That’s 2 pounds less than I was on the scale at home, and that’s in my gym clothes and after a light breakfast.

I know, I know, we’re only talking about a pound or two. But hey, a pound or two is all I’m losing each week on this diet, so I’ll take all of ’em.

Is teaching writing in community colleges different?

There’s been a couple of interesting things on some of the blogs I frequent about teaching in community colleges. There’s this post and this post from John “A Writing Teacher’s Blog” Lovas. John has a certain “street cred” here because he teaches in a community college and he has a long-standing scholarly record in the comp/rhet community. Then there’s this smart post from Jeff Rice, and also this smart post from Derek “Earth Wide Moth” Mueller. Derek wasn’t talking about community college stuff originally, but it went that way in the comments.

This talk about the difference (if there is one) between writing pedagogy in four year colleges and universities versus community colleges comes at an interesting time for me because my colleagues and I have been talking casually about how our MA program has been changing and how we might need to change, too. It used to be that about 70% or so of the students enrolled in our “Teaching of Writing” program were practicing junior high and high school teachers. I don’t know what the numbers are now, but there are significantly fewer of these secondary teachers now then there used to be. Conversely, we have a lot more students who are interested in pursuing PhDs in composition and rhetoric and/or who are interested in teaching at community colleges.

So maybe what we need to do in our program is to figure out a way to address some of the issues of teaching in community colleges. We have a “topics in” series of courses, and I was kind of thinking that a “topics in teaching in the community college” might be interesting. Of course, one of the problems (besides the fact that, as the above links suggest, it is debatable if there really are a lot of differences in writing pedagogy in universities and community colleges) is that all of the folks who might teach a class like that have little or no experience in actually working in community colleges. That’s not to say we can’t learn, but it isn’t something we can do on the fly, either.

I have more than enough on my plate right now, but I think it’d be an interesting class to explore and research. We’ll see….

Life after the strike: all is "normal"

I don’t think this is exactly the “end” of faculty strike news because the union leadership has still not informed members any of the details of the deal and faculty have to vote on it. But practically speaking, it appears that the strike is settled and everything is back to normal around here. There are a few rumors worth noting. I’ve heard from reliable sources that faculty are going to get an “across the board” raise of over 3% for each of the two years of the contract and the interim president has promised to hire 25 or so faculty above and beyond the 47 the administration was trying to search this year as the result of a retirement buy-out plan.

I don’t know who “blinked” first in these negotiations, but I have to think it was the administration. After all, faculty were getting ready to go onto the picket lines Wednesday morning. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of being on strike, but I was certainly prepared and assuming that I wasn’t going to be teaching the first week or so of classes. There was a fair amount of area TV and other media coverage of the whole thing, and given the oodles of bad press the administration had already had to endure over the last year or so, I have to think that they didn’t want to create the photo op of faculty picketing in front of the “University House.”

I’m glad we settled, but damn, that would have been some rally….

Jesus and the Devil haircut

I went for a haircut at my usual place in the Arcade in downtown Ann Arbor just now, and while the cut was fine and I happily didn’t have to wait at all, the woman cutting my hair had on some religious TV show on. The preacher, who was also a woman, was speaking about ways we all have to fight the devil in our minds by citing passages from the Bible. Pretty kooky stuff, if you ask me.

I thought about getting her to change the channel, but I decided against it. For one thing, it would have been kind of rude. For another, she might have used that as an opportunity/excuse to really screw up the haircut.

Anyway, simply yet another example of how hard it is for me to find a good place to get a haircut, I guess. Over the last fifteen or so years, I can think of three people who I thought did a really good job. One was this kind of punk woman in Richmond. She worked at this funky place in the Oregon Hill neighborhood. I assume I was the only client she had who had a “normal” hairstyle. Then, when Annette and I were grad school in Bowling Green, we used to get our hair cut by this quasi-closeted man named Bob. He did a great job and was dirt-cheap, too. The two things about him were you had to schedule an appointment like a month in advance because he was so busy– I’d usually just set an appointment right after I got done. The other thing was he cut my hair REALLY fast, I mean unnervingly fast. I was usually in and out of there in 10 minutes.

I haven’t found anyone as good in the AA-Ypsi area. Maybe I’ll just start going to that place in the mall…

I'm on strike… I guess…

Well, as of 12:07, the faculty are on strike. Now, the last update via email and on their web site was at about 1:30 in the morning, so I suppose the situation could change yet today. But WEMU just now said faculty are indeed still on strike.

Two thoughts:

* Oddly enough, I’m playing golf this morning. The main reason for this is I wouldn’t be teaching this Wednesday anyway, and we were told at the union meeting yesterday that we should show up to picket when we would teach and hold office hours. The only tricky thing is I had a meeting scheduled this afternoon, and I might not know the news about a settlement when it happens if I’m on the course.

* At one of the many meeting this past week, our chief negotiator would say that going on strike would represent a “failure” on everyone’s part, including ours. I wonder if she still feels that way.