Classes resume in two weeks! <brain screaming>

I think I’ve got it under control, probably, although the internal sensations of doom and helpless descent into a spiral of chaos will continue until December. I’m meeting my co-instructor for cell biology this morning to synchronize our watches and re-attune our wavelengths, and my syllabi are nearly done, except that the other day the administration sent out another wave of boilerplate we have to attach to them. I don’t get the point of most of it; these are pages and pages of cover-your-ass copy that every single class will give to every student every semester for the next four years, and I’m pretty sure they all read the syllabus to get the list of readings and the dates of the exams and then skip the rest. I don’t blame them. That’s what I’d do.

On top of that, my spiders are erupting in babies right now, with another egg sac due to hatch out in the next day or so. My plan is to pull out a sample that I can set aside for observation, and the rest will be set free in my garage to hopefully prepare for overwintering. I’m curious to see how Steatoda triangulosa will do in a home environment, anyway. Maybe some will populate the compost bin, too?

I’ve got about 150 spiders in the incubators right now, which somewhat stresses me out with the burden of feeding every other day. And now I have to also feed students’ brains on top of that? I may have to set some priorities here.


  1. birgerjohansson says

    If they succumb to omricon and monkeypox your workload will be much lighter.
    The idea that they would “take appropriate measures” to protect themselves is far too optimistic.

  2. says

    Feed the students’ brains to the spiders — solves three problems at once (the two outline above and the need for future syllabus boilerplate). Plus it would really cement your reputation as a mad scientist!

  3. birgerjohansson says

    Pay the students to inject the egg sacs in their brains? Before 2016 I would have said no one would have accepted, but today …
    Anyway, enjoy the experience. In 20 years you can tell the grandkids “we were not required to tell the students the spiders came with Noah’s Ark, like teachers today”.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    Make students more interested: have isopod/spider cage fights. Pick up one of the 25 cm/ten inch isopods from the Mexican Gulf.

  5. says

    Next week my college has “staff development,” a practice that has deteriorated over the years into sitting through various harangues from management. (One year they even cancelled the recognition of faculty milestones and the accompanying service awards because of “higher priorities.”) The administrators tried really hard this year to force everyone to show up for in-person convocation, hundreds of people stuck in one meeting hall for three hours the week before instruction begins. As someone who is “past the age of intimidation,” I told them I would not attend. I’m sure others did, too. Then this happened: “because of Senate and Union agitation, the Chancellor has decided to hold convocation Friday virtually for all events on the campuses.” Ha, ha, ha! If the Chancellor has decided not to show up in person, no one else has to! (I guess I can save my Molotov cocktails for later.) ;)

  6. says

    We’re also having a “Professional Development Day” next week, with the theme of “Building Engagement & Persistence in a Non-Ideal Context”. I’m internally thinking of it as “how to survive the hell that is modern academia,” which would have been a catchier title.
    I’m actually going to attend — they got smart and limited it to just the morning — and there are a whole TWO short talks I think will be useful.
    We also have a chancellor’s convocation for next Wednesday, and they’re tricking us into attending by calling it a “Luau Party” and serving picnic food on the lawn. Administrators are devious.