I never fully claimed Louisiana or Baton Rouge as my home, and I never participated in the full spectrum of Baton Rouge Mardi Gras events. These past two weeks I’ve been homesick, missing the festival spirit that consumes the entire state, even the most reclusive among my friends. You’d think the weeks and weeks of Mardi Gras spirit – preparations, build up, multiple parades in every town – would be tiring, but it’s just part of the culture, something everyone looks forward to every year. Mardi Gras in New Orleans, pshaw, that’s for the tourists. Mardi Gras everwhere else – that’s a wonderful phenomenon thatRead More →

The other day, I didn’t realize I left my coat in the office until I was half way to my car. I weighed walking back upstairs against completing the trek to the car in the light snow and 15 degrees cold. I felt fine, so I decided to shrug off the weather. Once in the car, I Facebook Bragged about officially adapting to the Northwoods weather. The car never warmed up before I made it home. I regretted the decision from the moment the Fiat Popsicle made it out of the parking lot. In the morning, I realized “I ain’t got no coat” to wearRead More →

1. A new semester, crisp and clean

2. Engaged students

3. A new textbook to engage the engaged students

4. Fresh snow that looks like cotton growing in treetops

5. Blankets and a home to protect me from fresh snow

6. Family

7. Coffee, always coffee

8. People who work hard and do their jobs

9. Old school Bic pens.

Read More →

The Blackboard app sucks more than Blackboard itself. The mobile app is teacher unfriendly. In fact, it’s downright teacher-hostile. Remember, the medium is the message. Since Blackboard has yet to master mobile-responsive design, the mismatch between the website and mobile app causes users to get mixed messages. This is a huge headache for teachers and students alike.

Additionally, instructors cannot access the grade center, or grade anything, which renders Blackboard Mobile pointless for teachers.  The app is just an added burden for instructors to address in course design, without much payoff.

What the app is useful for

Read More →

Remodel the kitchen or embrace what you have with gratitude and work for social justice instead? The choice should be easy, but it’s not. I admire the man in this article and his family so much, especially now that I pay two mortgages and consider daily how to remodel this new home in the Northwoods. Maybe I should buy a hammer instead of surf Apartmentherapy. How to use that hammer without succumbing to DIY culture is a whole different question, though.  

Give me gratitude or give me debt: http://momastery.com/blog/2014/08/11/give-liberty-give-debt/

Read More →

Wind chills to 45 below zero. In other news, the deer are turning on their oppressors. Having befriended the deer, we are guiltless. We are on the right side of history. Deer fights back at hunter who shot her (in Wisconsin). And this is even better: Another day at the Wall, with all its fierce winter beauty. So far, we’re still on good terms.Read More →

As of today, students pay a larger percentage of their tuition at state schools than the state does. The humanities died in higher education a long time ago. Now, higher education itself is under threat. Until academics realize we lost certain battles, and we move strategically to different grounds, we will continue to lose the war. The fault is ours. We are weak tacticians who suffer from occupational psychoses that prevent us from wisdom on the battlefield. Many ages ago, during my first semester in graduate school, a professor used the metaphor of the Catholic church to explain what was expected of graduate students. HisRead More →

Fiat Pop 400c’s sold in colder areas have cold-weather packages. My popalicious car is from the south, and has no such thing, so it’s being slowly winterized. Two challenges for cold weather: Pop engines won’t start at -20 F, and perhaps I won’t either. The certainty of a sneauxpocalypse in the Northwoods this year has had me gravely worried. People talked about driving to school last year in -35 F. Yeah. Remote starters are luxury up here, but engine block heaters are a Pop necessity. We went to the Fiat dealer in Appleton (great folks there) to get the heater and starter installed. The mechanicsRead More →