Thursday, January 10, 2008


Things I'd Rather Do Than Sit Through Another Tag-Team Software Vendor Demo

An hour after it was over, I was still bored.

What's your barometer for awfulness?

Ah, easy. Attending faculty meetings led by my former dean, which I dubbed "the Fidel hour" (actually hours). Just think of Castro in his heyday, when speeches went on and on and... That's what the old school-wide faculty meetings were like. Totally scripted and only the dean got to speak.

If you had picked the beginning of this week to camp out in Buffalo, it would have been ok -- we had highs in the 60s. Very springlike, with all the melting snow.
At work, every two weeks, I have what I refer to as my Nap Meeting, which is, as you might expect from the name, pretty much a colossal waste of time. But that's actually pretty tolerable. My yardstick for awful would have to be something like a Matthew Lesko infomercial or a Jim Rome radio show.
Dude. It was 60 degree in Buffalo on Tuesday!
To digress a bit: one of the supporting actors in The Sarah Silverman Program, Steve Agee, used to work as a writer/logger on The Osbournes. Among his duties included the transcribing of Ozzy's ramblings from hundreds of hours of videotape.

Agee does not speak well of that time.

Or, to quote Ozzy, "Whuzzallathizz... Farwua... Gezzalil... SHARON!"
The web site committee meeting. True story: when I started my old job, I went through my predecessor's files and found a draft of web policies, dated probably 1997 or 1998. (This was in 2001.)

The group started meeting. Dull, dull, dull, and yet contentious at the same time.

When I left that job, 6 years later, there still weren't final policies. I've been gone a year, and they still only have the draft that was there when I left.

I shudder remembering it.

OTOH: software vendor demo? bleh!
My standard for awful is this job, pretty much.

Meeting-wise, I'd say the Mandatory Fundraiser meeting were pretty bad. Yelling and screaming and having your fears confirmed to your face that the administration (yes, all of them; the opinions of 3 - 6 people aren't hard to keep track of) thinks all the staff is stupid and ungrateful and should be punished for not prioritizing their work over their families.
Mine involves assessment. And hearing from an administrator that we need to follow "best practices" in "customer" service, although the budget's bad, so we also need to raise class sizes, even though we're nearly double the recommended class sizes for writing classes. And did I mention, we need to add special assignments for assessment?
Hey now! Buffalo's not that bad! Besides we had a few days of 50+ degree weather, so camping outside wouldn't be terrible at all.

And we still don't have snow.
Go open source? (OK, this may still involve a tag team demonstration by consultants who want to help you implement the open source software...).

Seriously, what's the software for?
I am horrified to seeing winter camping in upstate New York on this list. Surely, you were kidding!

I'd add "take teenage boys shopping for clothes" to my list.
Dean Dad,

I attend a four-year private university in the Midwest region of the U.S. The dormitories owned by the University allow males and females to live on the same floor. I'm a male and I believe this is a good thing for real-world experience. There is also an off-campus (right across the street) housing development that will be opening for upper-classmen and graduate studies students. They don't allow males and females to live in the same housing (example: one central living areas with three separated and lockable bedrooms).

Would you be opposed to allowing on-campus students have male/female roommates? What about the off-campus housing? I'm interested on your thoughts, since you have the experience.
I was a waitress at a cafe that had an open-mic comedy night.

plus, the local 12-step group decided that standup was part of therapy. and they were all horrible.

and they brought their kids.

(not that 12step programs are bad, but that therapy =/= entertainment and bringing kids is just emotional blackmail to trapped waitstaff.)
administrative speeches that begin with a buzzword bingo phrase such as

"come together as a community of learners...."
"ask how we can further CRITICAL THINKING" (a recent fave...)
"these are hard questions" (like we'd ask easy ones?)

and goes on for 30-50 minutes with not one bit of actual information being transmitted.
Um, I'm not sure since I do teach the 8th grade... Probably teach 7th grade. That would hurt.
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