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Location: Upstate, South Carolina, United States

I think that the Meredith Brooks' song, "Bitch," summarizes me rather nicely. Or, if you prefer, X. dell says I'm a life-smart literary scholar with a low BS tolerance...that also works!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Vegas Bound!

...if I don't post for a couple of days, it's because I'm with fellow bloggers in LAS VEGAS, BABIES! Yeah! Basically, I have two exams to administer today. Then Alex helps me grade the finals, and I compute the final grades. Then I enter them into the computer...get some sleep in theory...and take off with Alex tomorrow (Friday) AM to go to Vegas. He might bring his laptop, and during the short window of time when I'm not intoxicated nor gambling nor chatting nor being indecent in some way (joining WordWhiz on the revolving piano bar? haha!), I might be able to post, but no promises. I don't get back until late Monday night. I've never been to Vegas, so I'm looking forward to it.

It will take actual amounts of alcohol to get me intoxicated. I just realized last night that I might be um...well, indulging in alcohol more than usual these last few months because suddenly, at 36 years of age, I'm able to drink a bit before getting buzzed. Last night I was stressed about grading, so I did a shot of limoncello. Nothing. I tried two. Hmmm. Nothing. Now, you're looking at the girl who used to be able to sniff a cork and get drunk, so this was a total surprise to me. I can now drink two glasses of wine and be unaffected. Amazing! I used to need just one glass to giggle like an idiot. I am no longer a cheap date...sniff. I don't drink every night, so I'm not sure how I finally developed some amount of tolerance (I'm betting Grant is laughing at my idea of tolerance to alcohol right now!). Oh well! I guess I'll have to try harder while I'm out in LV without the kiddies...it'll be one of those rare moments when I CAN cut loose like that since I will have no kids AND not be driving anywhere. Watch out, Nevada!

Seeya soon, guys!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Snakes on a Plane

So, a couple of drunk guys sat around an office, staring at a script in their hands. I can imagine them, words slurring, coming up with incredibly erudite and thought-provoking titles for a movie that involved a witness protection program and snakes and a plane flight. Finally one of them yawns and says, "Aw fuck it. Let's just call it Snakes on a Plane!" They all laugh their asses off, scribble the name down, and call it a night.

That's the title of the movie, and I know when *I* heard it, my first thoughts were, "Samuel L. Jackson in a movie entitled Snakes on the Plane? OH yeah! That should be tremendous! I should go see it!"

Snakes on a Plane listens to its audience. Apparently, after the title was let into public eye, people were immediately entranced with the beauty of the movie. Fan sites popped up. People made suggestions or movie parodies/clips that have been added into the movie, too! My favorite line added in is a line wherein Jackson gets to scream, "I want these mutherfucking snakes off the mutherfucking plane!" I admit: I will see the movie for that moment alone. In fact, I now periodically turn to Alex and scream out just that line. Fortunately, he gets my sense of humor and is entertained.

Snakes on a Plane. It's not a movie. It's an adventure!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Slack Ass

Yeah, I haven't had enough time to blog lately. So sue me. I'll have more time after VEGAS, BABY!!!

This is exam week. I already gave two exams today; the last two exams are to be given on Thursday. After that point, I must get all the grades in the computer by Thursday night. Why, you ask? Well, then I have to drive down to Alex's house to leave together for a long weekend in Vegas. I'm going to get to meet bloggers I've never met before...and I can't wait! I've never been to Vegas. Obviously, my French fiance has not either. I've dragged him to the DC area, to NC, to Florida, and of course across SC, but that's about it so far. Woohoo!

In other news, my ex is actually taking my children to his father's place in rural nowhere the weekend I'm gone. I am so stressed about this one that I can't stand it. I feel that he will make sure that the kids are ok, but...well...uhhh....his dad is the REASON WHY MY EX IS A MESS. I realize that age has mellowed the ex's dad, but he's still a random dice generator. I told Ariana--nay, pled with her--to just be polite to the man and not tease him in any way. They've never been around their grandfather for a reason. He's never really tried to enter into their lives, either. I've been happy about that. I guess it has to happen sooner or later.

Oh, before I forget: go congratulate April for finally getting out of a bad situation. It's always a hard choice to make, even when the man is so patently awful.

I will post more as I become more clever. Right now, my brain is a dried out fired upon husk that has died from overgrading syndrome. I can't think. I'm certainly not witty. I'm just mentally dead. I hope the mini vacation will jump start the brain again, too!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Grading, Grading, Grading

This week is the last week of classes. I have a lot of grading to do. That's why I'm blogging. Don't ask.

Grading--at least, when I hit the end of the year crunch in particular--makes me very, very cranky. Not too long ago, I had written up these lovely comments back to everybody who made comments on my last post, and then I hit enter, and then blogger ate them. I invented new words to use with the old cursing favorites, and then I threw in some french for good measure...mange ta merde et creve! putain de bordel de coulis! putain de merde! In the end, I decided rien a fouttre (I don't give a fuck, loosely...please, no French people including my fiance correct my French spelling...it's bad enough when folks do it to my English...kiss my ass...I said I'm cranky and I mean it!). Sometimes blogger is a bitch. Life goes on. Deep breath.

It helps to lighten the mood of grading when the students are such incredible writers. And by incredible, please let me explain that I mean, "incredibly horrible."

Let me give you examples.

I had this one gal who insisted on her cause/effect essay that it wasn't drinking alcohol, it was DRIVING alcohol that was the problem. No shit. Here's a sample sentence: "Driving alcohol can also cause high blood pressure." Amazing! Here I was drinking it! No wonder my blood pressure is fine. It's only a problem if I DRIVE it. I drew a little diagram of a bottle of liquor with wheels, and then a person driving on top complete with steering wheel, right next to that line. I'm sure she will appreciate the artwork.

OH! And speaking of wheels! In that same essay, she wrote: "People should never get under a wheel of a car if they have drunk two drinks or more." See, I had no idea that getting UNDER the wheel of a car was ever a good idea, drinking or not. My current theory is that the alcohol makes the body more spongey and squishy, thereby leading to death when a two ton car is placed on one's stomach via a wheel. If one is sober, however, the car can be placed there without injury. I learn so much from my students.

I had another student who wrote an essay who kept mentioning the damage done to the liver and kidney. Kidney. Here I thought there were two and all. Or, maybe, the disease focuses on JUST one kidney, leaving the back up alone? How kind!

An example of incomprehensible sentence structure: "Due to drinking, sex do not add up that good when one is drunk." Yeah, baby! Drinking before you write the paper on alcohol to get in the mood? Great idea!

I leave you with one final thought for the day, courtesy of another student:

"Having unprotected sex causes diseases that can not be cured or one is raped."

Where's that damn wine bottle...

Friday, April 14, 2006

She Did It Again!

All right, my daughter just positively has too wicked a sense of humor for an eight year old. See, my mom, dad,the kids, and I all drove down to see Alex in my parent's five seater car. It would have been foolish to take another car when Alex only has one parking spot we can use (and it's impossible to get more close to his apartment). So, when we went out to eat tonight, my daughter ended up on my lap.

Ariana wanted to know if what we did was illegal. I said, probably, although I didn't think that actually it WAS unsafe because I had her in-between my legs and the seatbelt was around us both. "If we stop, the seatbelt should take care of us, I'd think," I told her. My mom, who worries about everything, shook her head. "No, it's just not as safe, really," she insisted.

My daughter's response? Oh yes, yes, she IS a wicked thing:

"I'll be fine. Mom's boobs are like my own air bags!"

Yup. She's my daughter. There is no doubt about it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


What my mom has done so far:

Washed my baseboards
Finished my entire stack of sewing (two blankets, Ariana's tent, and two of Ari's dress up outfits)
Managed to clean up the underneath of the cat box with a scraper (litter had gotten tossed out and became damp due to it being located in my bathroom)
Made a batch of her world-famous meatballs and froze the leftovers for us
Got the stains out of my carpet (kid-induced)
Mopped and vacuumed
Dyed Easter eggs with the kids

What my dad has done so far:

Paid for every damn thing that has needed payment in the house
Taken out the garbage
Researched car stuff for me

(my dad had a stroke a long time ago which paralyzed his left hand side, so he's a bit limited in other things he can do)

Oh yeah, I'm spoiled and happy!


So, Ariana, Alex, and myself did a turn at a soup kitchen this Sunday. I think it was an excellent idea. Ariana was SO into the whole concept of feeding people. I don't think anybody wanted to do more work than her. The other folks in the volunteer group seemed really impressed by how my eight year old threw herself into it.

Ariana didn't understand why some of the folks went through the line twice. I explained to her that they were hungry, and as long as we had the food, why shouldn't they get extras? That answered that question satisfactorily for her. We had a discussion that it was always fantastic to feed people. Giving money means you have to wonder what the money was used for, but feeding people directly--even if they already have food--is still a great service.

My mom always did volunteer work as I grew up, and I often accompanied her. She used to teach deaf children how to read lips with a felt board and felt pieces at a special school, and during breaks I'd play monopoly or life with the kids. Silently. Curiously silent. She also took me to the children's cancer clinic she volunteered at for years, and now her and my dad do Meals On Wheels. I believe truly it gave me a better appreciation for the small things in life and for my own great luck. I would like to pass that on to my daughter, so I will try do do events like this again from time to time. Maybe we can even pick out a specific organization and do volunteer work regularly. It's good to be aware that no matter how much mom grumbles that she's broke, that in all honesty, we still live better than most of the world.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Calvary

The calvary is coming, the calvary is coming!

My parents are going to stay with us over the next week and a half. They should arrive this evening after having driven up from Florida. I can't wait. Having mom and dad here means a) I can grade papers when the kids are awake because they are entertaining them; b) I don't have to run any errands because mom runs them; c) my house gets a thorough cleaning; and d) mom has dinner waiting for me when I get home from a long day at work. Letter (d) really, really makes me happy. I LOVE cooking, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays I get home so late with the kids that I never do anything more than reheat leftovers or somesuch. In retrospect, the part about me as the ex wife that my ex husband should miss the most is that I always had dinner prepared for him when he came home from work, even when we both were working full time. What a luxury!

The calvary is coming at a good time because I am sick...YET AGAIN. This is getting old.

To answer a comment NWJR made, yes I have DM'd in my life. I'm rather proud of my total geek status. There are a ton more of the male geek types, so I'm a rarity. Most of my female friends are NOT geeks in the same way I am, but they love me anyway. Thank goodness :) Most of my male friends are total geeks too, so there's never a problem. I was 13 when I started playing d&d. I've played through 1e, 2e, 3e, and 3.5e. I also have played Champions, Palladium, the Star Trek roleplaying game system, and....hmmm, what am I missing? I know there's one more. I've read fantasy and science fiction novels primarily since I was 6, although in the last few years I've not been able to read for fun as much due to work and children issues. I have a PS2 and a gamecube and play console games. I like PC games, too, and my all-time favorite was Balder's Gate. I used to read comic books like crazy until I became too broke to keep up with them. Largely, I was a Marvel girl, although I also enjoyed some independents and a few DCs that my friend Lee threw at me.

For those readers here who are wrinkling up your noses and saying, ewwwwww geek, all I have to say is: I'm sorry you haven't had as much fun in life as I have. Haha! Seriously, I started up an ALL GIRL gaming group as a teen. How rare is that? NONE of these girls were geeks like me (wait, except Lee)...they were just friends. How did I sell them on rpgs? Basically, guys like their battles in roleplaying games. Girls like their character development and social interaction. Know your audience as a DM and work with it! It's FUN! For people who already like to write fiction, the roleplaying experience is guaranteed fun as you get to LIVE your character that you create.

The best part about being a geek is the friends. I am still friends with EVERY SINGLE ONE of my closest high school buddies. Every one. They do things for me like use up their vacation time to tile my house or send me money for a washer and dryer when I move out of a disasterous marriage situation. We used to gather together and play the rpgs or go to movies every single week, at least once a week and sometimes twice a week, for my entire high school days. We weren't the popular kids, but we had each other's backs, and to this day I couldn't be more grateful for the terrific memories I have of high school. None of my fond memories of high school involved drinking or sex in unusual places (that was college...haha!), so maybe some of you are wondering how on Earth I can think it was so great. Well, just trust me...it was. I'm totally grateful for my geek memories.

I haven't been to a fantasy/sci fi convention in years, but I used to go to them all the time. I used to actually know Piers Anthony, and his daughters Penny and Cheryl are around my age, so we'd sometimes goof off together at Necronomicon (a convention that is annually held in Tampa). My hair was long like his daughters, and I often wore a Xanth shirt, so I was sometimes mistaken for one of his daughters. That was cool, too. He lived not too far from Tampa, so it was easy for him to show up to that convention. My friend Lee often accompanied me at those events. Those were the days!

Anyway, I understand that some of you guys totally don't get the geek part of me, and that's fine. All you have to get is that it's enriched my life and gifted me with some amazing friends and terrific memories. Yayness!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

And a Teacher Calmed

Today was a much more satisfying day. An entire class found out that I was up for a full-time position and stated that they wanted to go to whomever and state that they wanted/needed me to be the teacher for Premiere! I didn't tell them where to go because, well, it looks like the Cult of Kira if that happens, you know? HAHA! "And here's some Kool Aid for joining the cult!" Anyway, it made me feel really good and emotional. One of those students from that class has even said, "Kira, I'm determined that you get a job somewhere. It doesn't even have to be here, but my sister is on the English faculty at Clemson...so maybe I can see if she can help you." I may not have money, but I have friends, students, family, loved ones who would do so much for me. I have the important stuff. Gosh, that gave me a warm and fuzzy glow.

Then, we had speeches in my 155 class...process analysis speeches. They generally do food because they know that's a weakness of mine. I got lasagna, a cookie, and a cupcake today. WOOHOO!

And the finale? Well, my darling made a post that actually made me flush. What an accomplishment! Awwwww!

Yes, a good day. Now I'll go grade some papers and drink a glass of wine.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Rampaging Teacher

Well, today I caught a plagiarist. Sigh.

I rather like one of the full-timer's suggestions. He feels that we should allow both adjuncts and full-timers to receive retirement benefits based on how many plagiarists we catch. I think I'm halfway there.

Students who decide to cheat in this fashion under me are just plain stupid. No really. I warn them explicitly that whatever the maximum penalty I can inflict is, they're getting it if they cheat. I can't STAND liars. I can't stand being deceived. And I truly feel that, although the person who may feel the need to copy a paper from somewhere else can be a good person who panicked and just went nuts, I also believe that a good person can just go nuts and blow the head off of the woman shagging her husband. Yes, I really DID just compare plagiarism to murder. No, I don't see a problem with that.

So! How was this student caught? I can tell you! The kids are required to submit their research paper to me via a service called www.mydropbox.com, and the paper came back with a 100% match. It checks for net sources, print sources, pay per paper sites, other papers submitted, etc. to see if the student copied any of the essay handed in. This IDIOTIC MORON screwed up on multiple levels. Let me count the ways!

1) First of all, during peer grading, he made a two inch left hand margin to make the page requirement. I warned him to NEVER play me like that. I warned him that playing me makes me testy as crap, and I want to kill.

2) Secondly, the day the paper is due he still has large margins. I remind him it's a zero unless he fixes it. He does so.

3) Thirdly, I remind the entire class that if their papers are not submitted to Mydropbox by midnight, it's an automatic zero. He forgets to do this. He submits a day late in the draft box, which would be the only box still open. So, regardless, it's a zero now...except...

4) Last of all, when the paper is then checked in the draft box, it comes back 100% COPIED. I click on the link which states that the paper has been submitted to mydropbox before. I think, well, maybe he failed the class with another teacher and this is his paper that he already submitted. Nope. It's his roommate's paper from last May's class.

So, I yank him out of class, redheaded temper going full blast. I guess technically it's auburn hair, but I've been using this fluid fire shampoo by Tressa that really makes it pretty damn red, so yeah, let's just go with redheaded temper. The whole class nearly shits in their collective pants because of the fury in my eyes. I ream him; he protests that it's HIS paper and his ROOMMATE used it last May. Well, guess what? You guys both screwed up. So, suck it up, boy. He asks me, what happens now? I basically tell him, you get an F for the class. Good bye. I used to only be able to give an F for the paper. I found out I can give an F for the whole class. Good. That's what I do because the person needs to FULLY UNDERSTAND how severe of a transgression this is. If everybody cheated his or her way through premiere tech, the degree would be worthless. The students would never get jobs and keep them, and nobody would hire them because the employers would know: easy A's. Nobody studies. Nobody learns. The degree means que dalle! I don't understand it. People pay money for classes just wanting the degree, not the knowledge to support the degree. What type of nonsense crap is that? Why bother to GO to school then? BAH!


On a wackier note...beware of the Kira. You just never know what'll slide out of my mouth. Hell, I don't even know.

A group decided to do their poetry project presentation on insanity. They brought a straightjacket and wrote quotes from some of the poems on it--cute idea. One of the students announced that he'd love to be put in the jacket. The presenter insisted that he would not like that because it's scary to be bound. "If you're not insane before you're put in this thing, you will be after you're left in it a while and can't get out," student J warns to the other student. Nope, student insists: I'd like that. I'm sure I would. Even for a while.

"Look, it's not as pleasant as it seems. Have you ever been bound and then woken up, still bound up?"

I looked up, surprised. "Why yes, of course!" I replied.

The entire class broke up into laughter. The student who had said the straightjacket looked great laughed the hardest, and he said, "Ok, quote of the day definitely goes to Kira."

And once again, I wonder...did I just say that? Oh well.

Saturday, April 01, 2006



Drink lots of Fat Bastard and have a couple of orgies! Hope it's a great day for you, dear!

I've always wondered how obnoxious it might be to have a birthday on April Fool's Day. On a related note, Jared informed me that since today is April Fool's Day, that means Alex and I have to get married. I'm sure there's a hidden message in there somewhere...