Grading on the plane

Ohhhhh I’m so tired and hurty!

Moomin watched TV the entire plane ride. Rook hung out feeling airsick and ill. I figured out grades according to a lovely system that I wish I’d established right from the start of class! I assigned points to all the waffly grades of A, B+, C, etc. I gave to major papers, and I figured out a way to deal with the homework and in-class writings that were graded like check, minus, plus, and sometimes “++++!!!” or with comments like “okay” or “fabulous”. Those minor assignments were all lumped together for 10% of the grade. If they missed a few, it was okay. If they did all of them, the extras over a particular threshold count for extra credit. There was also an extra credit assignment. We did two practice exams — well actually three — and I took the best grade of the last two as a paper. Exams and research papers were 20% each. Don’t worry – it all makes sense in my spreadsheet.

That still left me with some vagueness about “participation” and attendance. I think it worked out well, so that you could have made a C+ on the final, but still through lots of effort, make an A in the class — but only with extra effort and by doing quite well on almost everything. You could also have missed a major paper and still (maybe) make an A. For community college I think that is quite fair, but if it were grad school or an upper division class then I would not think it right.

Then… being in great physical misery… I started going through the Wiscon book and while reading it also making an index of names, books, magazines, and concepts. I could slam this index up on the wiki with links. I love indexes. In my reading and research I always study them and think about how they were made and what the philosophy was. And a nonfiction book without an index makes me sad. As I go through the book — which is fabulous by the way and I wish it were longer — I get a little frisson of satisfaction every time a guy refers to a guy. I just leave that out. If a guy ever cites a woman in this book I’ll make sure to give that its own special category. Or I could do the thing that is done so often in history books… give them a special index entry. “Men, citing women science fiction writers, 600; place in society, 592; arrogators of authoritative knowledge, 594-5; fathers, 231; interrupters, 599; Wonder Woman’s boyfriend, 12.” Hahaha no srsly I love dudes. I’m just snarking a little. The thing that is really lovely to note & one of the best things about being at Wiscon: women referring to other women and expecting that others listening will know who is meant. So as I read I’m obsessing some more on canon, girl canon, expectations, shared knowledge, who is considered essential, what is current – i.e. the way that Maul kept coming up last year, not just because it was great but because it got some buzz from the Tiptree short list but the sort of slow buzz to where it takes a while for people who would very much care to catch up and read it.

Oh and this morning I woke up super early and was too much in pain to deal with reality till coffee and celebrex kicked in. so I laid in bed reading blogs and I read N.K. Jemison and K. Tempest’s post and Tobias Buckell’s post with its crazy-making million comments o’ cluelessness and all I can say is some people need to be doing a little googling of “white guilt”… or something… How embarrassing… for fuck’s sake! N.K. being vastly patient… though I noticed the attempt at boundaries like “no actually i would not like to have an endless conversation with you b/c (polite) you are too clueless about race and it will be too enraging and a total energy suck” and then hey presto, teh ENDLESS THREAD where the educating tries to happen on about 50 fronts. I have certainly done that same thing about gender issues. You have to just tell yourself that some of it might take but it can be a while. Exposure some ideas… then back slowly away and go do something more fun… while the gears churn on their own. So as I read all this I became nostril-flaringly enraged and sputtery. Then I had to go catch a plane.

if i hear one more white person doing all that shit… i will scream… no *ahem* I will just point it out. Nicely. Without being condescendingly nice either. Or will go hey shutup okay because you’re hijacking, making it all about you, defensively explaining about the prejudice your irish grandma experienced in the factory in 1919, telling someone to just work harder and there is no prejudice in X industry, they just must not have been good enough yet, all of them en masse ….holy fuck… unbelievable! Anyone who says “colorblind” or “reverse racism” or explains how they can’t be racist because their cousin’s ex-husband is black, I am going to yell BINGO and start giggling uncontrollably. You know what, I don’t expect to deal with that sort of shit on the feminism/gender front at wiscon. And when I do I just laugh at it and really… so do all the cool women there. Who are rolling their eyes and laughing even if the dudes don’t see it, which they so often don’t. And I also don’t expect to deal with that about race and racism. I have higher expectations of this community. Racism exists. Deal with it don’t deny it. god… I am just not in the mood to be all patient about it at the moment. On the other hand I would try harder if it would take some of the heinousness out of our hallways. “Let’s try to make our community less embarrassingly clueless sounding”… now there’s a rousing slogan.

I cling to a vague hope about existing institutions (like SFWA, which I don’t know beans about and am vaguely some kind of supporting member of and sometimes read the magazine… but frankly the whole technopeasant thing? Whatever… that made me not care about them… if they tolerate that kind of utter fool in their upper ranks for so long do I want to mess with that? No!) but even so have to agree with N.K. that it is just NICER and more hopeful to put energy into other things. So rather than join SFWA and kiss ass on a lot of smug old men who think they are powerful and important… I have had a lot more fun feeling like a small part of the Cabal and also doing all the blog and wiki stuff with Quilty. Again it is about building alternate structures of value and importance rather than buying into whatever the old-institution’s values are… patriarchal procrustean bed… screw it!

The thing is I just don’t believe in that kind of power… until it kills me I won’t… and not even then. Seriously, to hell with all that!

done way too much research to believe in it! Read too many dickweeds from 1910 who pompously explain why women can’t write with maybe one exception who is 22 and really hot and neurotic too and then who goes and kills herself! And then everyone says what a shame the only woman who knew how to write and play ball with the big boys! and then I find out (as with the guatemalan poets and such) that there were all these OTHER women who had their own networks of newspapers and magazines and writing and reading circles and who were “bohemian” in some unspecified way. BUT… the ones who end up in the history books are the ones who get Juan Ramon Jimenez (insert your own Famous Guy Writer) to write them a book preface. Because the guys who write the history and criticism books don’t care what women did unless a famous guy paid attention to it for even one second. If you like you can look at 18th and 19th century british lady novelists. same pattern. commercial success, building own community… only room for one token chick at the top while a hundred mediocre old guys continue their own club where they hog all the presumption of “real” value or “doing it right”. So that dynamic… frankly… does not seem all that different to me. I don’t think we’ve come that much further than that. I ahve also read those same women 100 or 200 years ago all tenatively happy that Now things are different and always will be. just like we do sometimes. oh it’s so different now that… oh… 30% of whatever is by women… so now we can rest assured that it’s fixed! Is it? I don’t trust that, but that’s what I want to work towards. If not… then what i’ve said before about at least establishing findable caches of information and once future women stumble across them then they’re in… and can find everything.

We’ll build our own standards and cultural referents and reading lists and markets and awards. And SF does not belong to “them”… clueless old dudes who think they have it made… Guys like that technopeasant ranter guy. What a wanker! That guy is exactly the sort of self-important weenie who puts people off of SF in general.


So anyway I’m in Chicago.

I’m very hurty and tired and took some muscle relaxants (finally: holding out all day) and small children are running around all over and my brother in law wants help with his Internet. I think Rook is doing the Internet helping part thank god. Moomin stepped on my foot catastrophically and I thought I was going to scream and my foot is bad even through the drugs. Not his fault… But ugh! It hurts! He was so good on the plane, as always.

My nephew and niece were super excited and ran to me for hugs yelling “I missed you!!!” So hell! I had better get them some good presents to come back with next week!!! I want to be the cool auntie who brings presents! I watched from the porch as they hunted rabbits and did stomp r0ckets. my bro-in-law brought me some electrical tape to stripe up my wheelchair, which I have been longing to do! so now I have pink and black stripes.

We had some fun moments in the airport going down ramps with Moomin in my lap. The airport thing went okay this time, better than last time. Maybe Frontier is nicer than that other airline… because all the airline clerks and people looked at me and spoke to me directly (rather than to the person standing next to me.) That might also be that I looked meaner and bitchier today so they were running scared.

I am craving exercise… So the ramps up were good too. I think I might start lifting weights. My triceps are getting huge from the chair. I want my biceps to match.

Oh! Rook is completing his Internet Help session (success! domain name moved! SMTP server found and changed!) with a hearty dose of lolcats education!

One Response to “Grading on the plane”

  1. Spinning Liz

    Triceps, biceps, good, good, but don’t forget forearms, hand grip, and of course deltoids, those gorgeous round sleek shoulder muscles. And they’re all hooked to chest and back muscles; nothing can operate independently and imbalances in development cause more pain. Hang out a bit with Mistress Krista, and stay tuned for my own virtual training shack, coming soon to a computer near you.

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