I can haz break now?

Please? I have finished grading my nightmarish genetics essay exam (do not ever assign essay exams to bright, ambitious, literate students without setting an upper page length — I had over 400 pages to read. Will not do that ever again. Ever.) and finished the first wave of lab reports. Oh god my eyeballs are about to explode. I think I deserve to take a little walk in the sunshine, don’t I? Don’t make me sit here in my office any longer.

Really, just a short walk, maybe look for a few spiders, then I promise to get back to work.

I have two more sets of exams to finish — but they are much more sensibly designed with short calculations to read, and they either get them wrong or they don’t. And then I have to write two final exams.

There is another lab report and the answers to the final exams to read, but they don’t come in until Friday and next week. Please don’t punish me if I go outside for a little bit. Maybe I can just go feed the spiders? I’ll be right back to buckle down again.



  1. birgerjohansson says

    Don’t worry. Once the horror of peak grading work is over, there will likely be a perfect storm of COVID among the student age demograpic …because people relax too soon and go out and meet friends.
    And because vaccines are evil.
    And because they think they are likely to get very rare side effects but are unlikely to get the virus…

  2. birgerjohansson says

    I may have been overly negative in the previous comment.
    Here is an OT good news item: The EU parliament has told Pakistan to remove the blasphemy laws or lose the favorable trade status with the trading bloc.

  3. says

    One of the most stimulating classes I took in grad school had twice a week take home essays on important critical thinking exercises and every essay could not be longer than a single double spaced typewritten page.
    To this day, the critical thinking that class taught me has been useful every day since.

  4. nomdeplume says

    For some reason the phrase “Well done, good and faithful servant” comes to mind…

  5. stroppy says

    Give me a break,
    Give me a break.
    Break me off a piece of that KitKat bar.

    Persistent jingle, that. Hard to believe it was the 80s.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    And when you get a break, remember
    “God is in the TV”*
    so chill out with a nature documentary by Attenborough or something.
    (*do the kids even get that reference?)

  7. Ridana says

    do not ever assign essay exams to bright, ambitious, literate students without setting an upper page length — I had over 400 pages to read.

    I hope you tell them this when you give back the exams. It’s very rewarding to know your profs think highly of you.

  8. robert79 says

    “do not ever assign essay exams to bright, ambitious, literate students without setting an upper page length”

    I learned this very early on. I set (relatively low) upper page limits on all my assignments. It forces students to think about what is important to say, and what is less relevant, as they don’t get the room to just write down everything.

    My students hate it, in high school they typically got “minimal x pages” assignments, which trained them to bloat up their writing, which is a horrible practice, and now they have to unlearn that.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    davidc1 @ 10
    Isn’t “cat” a 1960s synonym to “dude”?
    So it is about a rather weary cat, who deserves taking a break and licking his paws.

    Also, re. a very big , time-consuming task:
    Swedish Star Wars enthusiasts Esma Songelin and Thomas Nixon from Västerås have spent more than 5000 hours the last two years working on an exact replica of the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon.
    Totally OT but I think it is pretty cool.

  10. davidc1 says

    I would never insult the Doc by referring to him as dude .Them Swedes ,one way of making the long Nordic winter nights fly by .
    I have only ever seen Star Wars ,the original one ,before what’s his face started fecking around with them once ..

    Wife at a sex party to husband .
    “Go drain the Swede ”
    Husband .
    “Are You Ok in There Mr Svenson ?”
    A bit from the English comedy show ,The League of Gentlemen .

  11. stroppy says

    Jazz era slang, it was pretty much worn out in the 60’s, at least in my neck of the woods.

    Which doesn’t stop me from using it ironically.

    davidc1 @10
    You can haz cat

  12. stroppy says

    davidc1 @12

    “Dude” isn’t necessarily bad, but it does have some negative overtones.

    “Cat” was insider slang among jazz musicians, was generally inclusive, and referred to cool people who knew what was what.

  13. birgerjohansson says

    Stroppy @ 15
    …I assumed dude (Merican) and bloke (Brit English) were synonymous. My bad.
    Would it be correct to describe PZ and other researchers as “boffins”?

  14. stroppy says

    birgerjohansson @ 17

    No bad, I was having a word nerdy moment.

    ‘Dude’ historically refers to a man who is foppish or a city slicker, but it’s been generalized to the point that it’s like the slangy use of ‘man’, including laid back forms of address like “Hey, man!” or exclamations like “Man!” — only closer to ‘bro’ in attitude. It can be seen as a little disrespectful.

    I don’t have a good ear for Brit, and haven’t heard ‘bloke’ used that way. I always assumed that ‘bloke’ was pretty close to ‘guy’.

    PZ could be a boffin, but I wouldn’t say it, because I have no idea if it would actually be appropriate. To my American lack of sensibility, it sounds like something Bertie Wooster would say or that Monty Python would build a bit around.

  15. PaulBC says

    @18 As an American, I get the impression that “boffin” is still in use in the UK as something like “tech whiz” (and maybe originally something more mechanical). Or anyway, it was as of my last data-point in the mid-90s, and I guess that’s a long time ago considering maybe half my coworkers weren’t born yet.

    At the time I was reading an interview with Brian Eno, who insisted he was “not a boffin” despite being depicted as one. I though, OK, I would never consider him a boffin. What the heck is a boffin? I looked it up, and who knows, maybe it was quaint then already. Bertie Wooster doesn’t come to mind, but I can imagine Tom Baker as The Doctor saying “boffin” without skipping a beat.

    Philip K Dick has a character in Valis that he said was based on Eno and would definitely qualify as “boffin” if I am using the term right.

  16. stroppy says

    If Baker didn’t say it somewhere, he should have. All I could find was this from The Ark in Space:

    Vira: The Ark was designed to have a negative fault capacity.
    Harry: Gremlins can get into everything, old girl. First law of the sea.
    [The Doctor corrects the fault]
    Harry: There you are, what’d I tell you? The Doctor’s a first class boffin!