Feb
2011

Tommy Blue Eyes

Ever since I was 4 years old, I’ve had a white cat in my midst. The first was Max, who was deaf. Then came Duchess. Then the queen of them all, Trina, who after 13 long years of living in NOLA sadly didn’t survive Hurricane Katrina.

After Trina died, it took me awhile to adopt one of my own, but when I took a chance [and a long drive] to the Tampa SPCA [which isn’t in Tampa at all but Largo, FL] and saw Sweetness, I knew I had to have her. Sweetness is a diva, and I love her. I’ve even made her into a LOLcat:

sweetness as lolcat

She’s a much better traveller than Trina. My parents took her to Mississippi for the summer of 2007 while Andy and I eloped/honeymooned in Australia, and when we moved to Wisconsin, she flew on the plane with me. Airport security was interesting to say the least.

***

Now that we have a house of our own, we have more space to share. And while it didn’t make Sweetness happy at all, after browsing the E.C. Humane Society webpage, we couldn’t resist adopting Vito [the grey] in February of 2009 and then Tommy [another all white] in September of that same year. You can see all three in this video. Not sure why YouTube uploaded without audio, but oh well. The point is you see how athletic my Tommy was:

He was only 5 years old, so you can imagine our surprise on Saturday night, after a full morning of running around and afternoon napping, we found him unresponsive on the couch. Poor darling. We still don’t know what exactly happened, but when we took his body to the vet on Sunday morning, she said that he in no way suffered. He went in his sleep, and as my friend told me, “Tommy is gone to kitty heaven, he has many friends there, he is watching you via telescope and hoping you are not too sad.”

As you know from previous blog posts this year, we have little Dexter now who is still a goofy kitten who chases his tail, and that has offered us much needed joy during this sad time. It’s weird to say, but the house feels empty now with only 3 cats in it, probably because Tommy was the most curious of them all and followed us everywhere. We miss him so much and finally today I think the other cats started to notice, which breaks my heart even more. But I will always remember his silly bathing poses and love of his brothers.

my absolute fav pic of Tommy. silly dude with pinky paws. :( on Twitpic

looked up from my computer to see all 3 of my boy cats curled... on Twitpic

Naturally, Sweetness wanted nothing to do with him…her loss!

Feb
2011

truthy

Let’s try this blogging during the semester again…

This Spring I’m teaching 4 online courses and 1 hybrid, which meets twice a week but video of those meetings is “captured” so I can send a link to the online students. It’s my third time with this system and I think I’m getting it down.

I think.

Instead of assuming student behaviors when finding and viewing the links, I’ve made it clear from the get go that I’m aware my practices might differ from others in the department [many of these students have taken classes that utilize the ECHO captures for a number of semesters]. So in addition to posting the link to the captures under the LINKS tab in D2L, I email them with it as well, offering context for what was covered and what to pay attention to for next time. What’s most important is that they don’t delete these emails! I know it can be annoying to have to look outside of the course management system for stuff, but email isn’t going away as far as I’m concerned, and the more literate one becomes by creating folders, using filters, and flagging “to do” items, the better!

My confidence with teaching this seemingly “split” course has also grown as a result of my Directed Study student’s research project on student and teacher perceptions of the system. Indeed, I’m hyperaware of its ins and outs these days. I have to review and send over his IRB paperwork today too, so let me hurry up with this blog post.

The theme I’ve chosen for this hybrid course, which I neglected to mention earlier is an undergraduate course in Rhetoric/Style/Argument, is truth. As I did last year, I started with showing the SNL clip of John McCain approving ads to get students seeing why so many people define rhetoric in a negative way, as lying, manipulation, etc. But this time I also showed this interview between Stephen Colbert and Sherry Turkle to see if my students could identify the argument(s) AND if they believed there was a clear winner:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sherry Turkle
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

I’ve purchased Turkle’s book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other to be able to review her data and thus assess her longer argument, so I’ll try to post a review of that in a few weeks. While I know she was dealing with the character of Colbert, the first time I watched their interview I felt like he won. What do you think?

And will you leave a comment here, via Facebook, or Twitter rather than come tell me your answer in person? 🙂