Friday, December 30, 2005

The 7 Meme

I took up Michele's challenge.

Seven Things to Do Before I Die:
1 Orlando Bloom
#2 Visit Knossos on Crete
#3 Star in a STAR TREK Movie (I would love to see myself energized)
#4 Spend the Summer in Tuscany
#5 Watch the Cubs win the Worlds Series at Wrigley Field
#6 Swim with Dolphins
#7 Watch my niece matriculate

Seven Things I Cannot Do:
#1 Tolerate hypocrisy
#2 Listen to George W. Bush give a speech
##3 Look at snakes – in any medium
#4 Anything to do with heights (except fly – that doesn’t freak me out)
#5 Find enough time to do all that I want and need to do
#6 Advanced math
#7 Refrain from practical joke planning

Seven Things that Attract Me to My Best Friends (or significant other, etc.)
#1 Their humor
#2 Their intelligence
#3 Their open minds
#4 Their curiosity
#5 Their dedication to excellence
#6 Their naughty minds
#7 Their quick wit

Seven Things I Say (or write!) Most Often
#1 Yes, Orlando, Yes. That’s the spot!! (Dreams do count, right?)
#2 Remember to include your rough drafts with your final essay
#3 Duh!
#4 That ticks me off
#5 I’ll have a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit with a large iced tea (I never cook breakfast and instead get the same thing from Braums on my way to work almost each day of the week)
#6 Sure I’ll do it. Put it on top of that pile over there.
#7 ;-)

Seven Books (or series) I Love
#1 Raymond Feist’s RIFTWAR SAGA (Books 1-4)
#2 C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia
#3 J. K. Rowling’s HARRY POTTER
#4 My Riverside Edition of Shakespeare’s works
#5 The Gospels (New King James version)
#6 Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts
#7 Douglas Adams’ Hitchikers Trilogy

Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again
#1 Stephen King’s THE STAND (mini-series)
#2 The Hunt For Red October
#3 Blazing Saddles
#4 The Empire Strikes Back
#5 Finding Nemo
#6 Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves
#7 Animal House

Seven People I Want to Join In (Be Tagged)
#1 Rinda
#2 Gena
#3 Jill
#4 Mandy
#5 Dana
#6 Jeff
#7 Betty
Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Spring Fever in Winter?

The unseasonably high temperatures we've been having in OK, 60s and 70s, have fooled my sinuses into thinking it's Spring. Thus, Monday morning I woke to the delight of a sore throat with mild congestion. Being well-versed in the lore of sinus infections, I knew what to expect: rapidly deteriorating conditions leading to bronchitis. Unfortunately, clinics were closed Monday, but I did get in yesterday. Got my medicine (used my new health insurance for the first time and saved over $75 in office visit and prescription cost - yay!). Since then, I have been living in a vaporizer and Vicks inhalent induced fog, propped up on my 7 pillows, with a box of Puffs at my side. I've only had chicken noodle soup to eat for 2 days. So far, this has been a very mild cold. I think the chicken soup is a very important key. But my back aches from sleeping vertically for 3 days.

This afternoon, in a test run, I entered the world again. I took a trip to Walmart to buy a Homedics Percussion Massager because my neck and back was hurting so much the pain was giving me a headache. All I can say is Wow! This massager is fantastic. I have a damaged nerve in my back from car accident in 1992, and it's just out of reach. So when it's hurting, unless someone is on hand to rub my back, I just suffer. Hah! No longer. This not only reaches the spot, but it provides more than adequate massage to ease the pain. I am quite ecstatic!
Friday, December 23, 2005

Recommended Reading

I just finished Kerrelyn Spark's book: How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire. It was really good. Funny, poignant, intriguing - and left me wanting more. I can't wait to read the sequels in this story. I know the title might sound like the most cliched romance novel, but this really isn't. There are some very nice twists and turns in this - the pace really escalates nicely, and the romance is both tender and hot. Since I just finished watching BATMAN BEGINS, I had the image of Christian Bale in my mind as Roman, the hero. Yum.

Check this book out. It's been a while since I enjoyed a vampire book - I totally got burned out on them.

Another good read is Ronda Thompson's The Dark One (Bk. 1 in the Wild Wulfs of London). This is a Regency Gothic - I know it sounds like a paradox, but that's what it is. A very good book and again, one that left me wanting more.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Pet Peeves

I hate packing peanuts. I'm coordinating an NRCA contest category, and someone sent her books packed in these styrofoam peanuts. With all the static in the air, I about never got these things to stop clinging to me, the books, my desk, etc. And, since I have to dispose of them and leaving them in the box is too risky (drop the box and they all fall out), I had to transfer them to a used mailer. Getting them out of the box and into that mailer reminded me of trying to fish out that little piece of egg shell that manages to drop into your bowl before you scramble the eggs. I'm not kidding. Arrgghhhh!!!

And why some authors feel compelled to treat their books as if they were Incan treasure, I have no idea. They're paperback books. I don't see the need for packing peanuts or 3 layers of postal tape. I even had one box that had postal tape under the seam so it would meet with the outer layer of tape - like a tape sandwich! My category is big (36 entries), and I wish everyone would use the mailers rather than big boxes. Today I carried home 8 mailer and 5 boxes. The other day, it was 7 mailers and 6 boxes. I know my neighbors think I'm either lucky to have so many friends to send me Christmas gifts, or that I'm an online shopaholic. ;-)

I will never tell.

Merry Christmas!!
Thursday, December 15, 2005

I'm Done!

I can't believe it! I just finished turning in my final assessment report. My grades are all entered electronically (with paper printouts, of course), my desk is neatly piled with all the on going stuff I have to pick up in January, and my book bag is packed with the notes and handouts I need to revise for Spring.

I'm stunned. Six hours of grading last night, and eight hours today. Whew!

I am now going home to Mommy for a backrub and home cooked meal.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Up to my eyeballs in alligators

Well, today was the deadline for students to turn in revision drafts and final essays. So I received a whole bunch of papers today. I am currently logging in homework grades - yuck.

We found out recently that the admin wants grades in on Friday, rather than after the weekend which is usual. I don't see how I'm going to get all this grading done by Friday at noon. But I'm going to try. To fortify myself, I'm going to eat Italian food with a friend. I'm sure a judicious application of Alfredo sauce and garlic bread will help my efforts. ;-)

I did feel really proud of my students yesterday. I finished grading Comp 2 pre/post assessment tests, and all of my comp students who took both tests, except for 1, improved on the post test! Ironically, the student who scored one point lower is an A student who rarely had trouble with the subject matter we test on. That just shows the limitations of tests.
Monday, December 12, 2005

Guilty Pleasure - Queen of the Damned

I never did finish all my guilty pleasure movies, so I'll post one now. Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned is one of my favorites. It's a bit campy and over the top, but then Vampires tend to be that way: broody, vengeful, egotistic, etc. I really love Stuart Townsend as the Rock-Star Lestat, and the music is this wonderful grating, driving, earthy rock that is so edgy it has teeth, er, fangs.

I guess what I really love about this movie is that it is a love story. Lestat is tired of being alone. And Jesse is drawn to him and his life.

There is also Vincent Perez as Maurius - very funny and sexy.

I just love the operatic feel of this movie.
Friday, December 09, 2005

Grading Marathon

Sorry to be so unbloggy lately. It's the end of the semester, so I've been doing lots of grading, hand holding, and wrapping up of semester projects. In the last 3 days, I know I've graded over 110 essays - some of them rough drafts, some of them revision drafts. And I'll be picking up final drafts and one revision draft from everyone next Wednesday - unless they turned it in early and I've already graded it and given it back.

Grading is tasking, but the thing that takes up most of my time is plagiarism. When I have a suspect paper, it probably takes me 30 minutes to an hour to track down the sources, write comments, document the cheating, etc. Yesterday morning, I got to the office 3 hours early so I could finish grading papers for 2 classes, but I had 3 plagiarists, and that took up over an hour of my time just dealing with that. By the end of the day, I'd found 4 more. Today, I found 5 other papers that were plagiarized (these were all from students that have previously done this).

And, I had a paper from a student that has struggled all year, making Ds, but whose latest paper is a high B. I knew it wasn't his work, but I couldn't find anything that wasn't cited. Then, a student came in and told me he overheard this student saying he was going to have his sister write the paper. Why? Because he thinks I'm out to get him. His previous paper did not follow the assignment at all, so I allowed him to redo it. The revision was better, but it still did not follow the assignment. Plus, it was obviously not his work. Now I know that his sister must have written that too, though he told me she was going to "help" him, she in fact had to have written it completely.

Okay, enough complaining. I will say that my grading will be significantly less next week because I had so many outstanding first drafts. I gave As and Bs to many students for their first attempts. And I'm thrilled that most of my top students in ENG 1113 have enrolled in my TR ENG 1213 class next semester. Oh, that should be a fantastic class.

Well, I'm off to see a play. A friend of my, Kevin Worden, is part of an acting group, and they are opening a show tonight in Ada. Several of us from the college are meeting for dinner and then attending the show. Tomorrow I'm going Christmas shopping with Mom, so that should be fun.

Have a great weekend.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What a great read!

I just finished reading WARPRIZE by Elizabeth Vaughn. It's a book I've picked up and put down at the bookstore for months. The cover is striking, the story tantalizing, but I've been burned so many times that I just wasn't willing to pass up buying books by my sure bet authors. Well, yesterday I caved. Thank goodness! This was a fantastic book. It's exactly the kind of story I love. Wonderful world building, a cast of great characters, a remarkable heroine and hero, who aren't perfect but are flawed in acceptable ways, humor, drama, romance, etc. I only wish it had been LONGER!! Of course, the sequel, WARSWORN, is out in April (5 months?!!).

I just can't gush enough over this book. I really needed to read a solid book - something with writing integrity, imagination, spirit, etc. End of the semester blues have really had a hold on me. Students getting on my nerves, lots of grading, etc. So finding a respite, getting lost in the pages of a book, cuddling under my comforter as the chilling wind blows outside, all these were the recipe for a better attitude.

Thanks Elizabeth Vaughn!
Monday, December 05, 2005

Can anyone see this?

I'm freaking out. Whenever I try to go to my blog, I get an error message: Can't find the page! I can't get to anyone elses either, but I can go to blogger's home page and log in.

Please, someone email me that my blog is still up!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

My 80's Heartthrob - The Quiz

My friend Jill posted her 80's Heartthrob, and I couldn't resist. I do admit to thinking Scott Baio was cute in Charles in Charge (not as Chachi). Still, he was not even close to being my heartthrob in the 80s. I'm wondering what the other choices were?
Your 80s Heartthrob Is

Scott Baio
Thursday, December 01, 2005

I've been tagged - My Book Meme

Here it is Ammanda!

1) I also don't buy books simply for the cover. However, a book with a man in a mask (a la Zorro) will get me every time.
2) I don't crack spines. I also don't fold pages. Even in cheap paperbacks. I find it very hard to desecrate. I will crack the spine, though, of a textbook if I am required to do a lot of reading and writing out of it, so it has to lay flat.
3) Ooooh, there's nothing better than bringing home an anticipated new book! I agree. However, I'm so busy lately that it's almost a dread because it sometimes takes me weeks, or years, to get to it. I took 2 years to read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire!
4) I have all of Nora Roberts' books. Perhaps it's because I started reading her when she first published, and I have grown as a reader and writer with her. I adore her style, even the early Silhouettes.
5) I love clinch covers that have a modicum of good taste. I admit to liking the Johanna Lindsey "Golden Age" covers - like the Mallory novels and "Hearts Aflame."
6) I reread a lot. I have probably two hundred paperbacks and hardbacks that I consider keepers. I usually don't reread the whole novel, but I will find particular passages that I am in the mood for - humor, inspiration, etc.
7) I usually have a personal book and a professional book going, but rarely am I reading two personal books at once. I read so quickly (except in recent years) that's it would be rare for me to take more than one day to finish a book.
8) I like to read and that alone. I don't like any distractions - just me, a comfy chair or pillow to cushion my back, and silence. Ah! Bliss. Obviously, Omar Khayyam did not have paperbacks, because he would have ditched the girl and sung in the wilderness with a good book. ;-)
9) I read (almost) anything and everything. Romance is my primary personal fiction of choice, but I love sci-fi/fantasy and mystery as well.
10) For me, setting is important, but not as important as character and dialogue. I really dislike books that spend paragraphs and pages going on about the scenery or history of a place. And I love history!
11) I usually don't go for books with kids in them (unless one of my favorite authors puts one in). However, I have several fav books that have kids. I'm always surprised at how much fun they can add to a story. Of course, now that I'm a doting aunt, I am much more inclined to read about children.
12) E-books: I've read several, and I tend to buy from Ellora's Cave for that particular genre, though I've only purchased a handful or two. I enjoy the tactile sensation of a real book. And it's more comfortable to snuggle in my arm chair than my office chair.
13) I really don't have a preference concerning trade size or regular. I prefer the price of a regular paperback.
14) A books has to be simply dreadful for me not to finish it. I might skim a lot, but I will try to read most of it. I have had a few that I simply could not get beyond chapter 2.
15) I agree with Ammanda's pet peeves--the aforementioned thing about when an author SAYS her characters are witty/brilliant/braniac, and then they go off and behave like morons at every possible opportunity. "Tortured" heroes who really have no complexity, they are just whiny. "Feisty" heroines who run off and nearly get killed, and must be rescued by the hero 10 times by page 200. I also hate heroines who do such stupid things that embarrass themselves in public or in front of the hero. There's a difference between slapstick humor when something unintentional happens or a heroine is simply a clutz, but when she loses control and does something really moronic, or just doesn't think straight, I cringe and writhe in agony.
16) I am not sure what this is asking about. I buy books at all times of the year. I really love Christmas, though, because it gives me a reason to indulge.
17) The first book I remember reading that really influenced me was THE BELLS ARE RINGING. It was a Revolutionary War story about a printer's apprentice in Boston during the blockade. His master was a Son of Liberty, and the boy got caught up in the fight. After that, it was CS Lewis' CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. I still have all of these books - and I read the first one in 3rd grade!
18) If this is about a bad habit or something, I admit that I also sometimes read the ending before I even buy a book.

I am alive

Just wanted you to know that I am alive. I've had a migraine since Tuesday, and the semester ends next week (then finals week), so I'm busy winding down my classes and grading, but I do plan on blogging soon. Ammanda McCabe has tagged me, so I have a book meme blog to write, and then I have a countdown list planned.

I've included this happy photo of Orlando just to perk me up. I hope it does the same for you. ;-)