Please enjoy my newest on Slate, especially if you need a break from polishing the Thunderstorm Contingency Plan pages of your 99-page syllabus.

PS: as I am so vehemently quick to point out, as a freelancer I don’t often write my own headlines. But when I am allowed to keep the hed I wrote, that’s because it’s fucking awesome, and I am comfortable tooting my own horn about “Syllabus Tyrannus.” The end. <3 <3 <3

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Is This the Worst Fucking Person in the World?

All right, so, if we’re being honest, I would rank this person well below the genocide-causers of the world, ISIS, Dick Cheney, racists, sexual predators, homophobes, etc. But for an academic, or someone who fancies herself one, I think this Chronicle letter-to-the-editor writer, who penned (in, I believe, no satire) a letter to the readership of the Chron entitled “Is That Whining Adjunct Someone We Want Teaching Our Young?” might be in the running for worst fucking (academic) person ever. So, congrats, Catherine Stuckel, for inspiring me to break my “no ad-hominem attacks during pregnancy” rule. You were worth it. 


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Syllabus Rex

I’ve been having a very interesting Twitter convo for the past few days (as research for an article) about course syllabi, and if they’re too long (hint: yes), and why (lots of reasons, forthcoming in said article).

In the interest of full disclosure, and also because I am really maudlin about not teaching this year (not, o trolls, because I got fired for sucking so badly, but because I am having a baby), here are a few of my own old syllabi (some of them are in German, because, hey, I taught German), admin boilerplate and all.

I always prided myself on keeping them down to five pages or fewer, but as you can see, that often took some serious font-size finessing. “Enjoy!” (And no, I am not available at any of those email addresses or in any of those offices anymore, alas).


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Fun Pregnancy Surprise: Being Terrified Every Day

I don’t know if it’s because I had a missed miscarriage before, but now that I’m in the second trimester, I spend more time every day than I’d like to admit paralyzed with terror that I’m going to lose this baby. Keep in mind that I have no physical symptoms that would lead any reasonable person to believe this. Not two weeks ago I was at the doctor listening to SchuFetus’s little heartbeat through the Doppler. Since that time I have gotten bigger–somehow I get bigger every day. At night before I go to sleep I even feel a little weirdness in my belly that could very well be the babby moving around.

It doesn’t matter that the chance of having a second-trimester miscarriage is like 1 percent, smaller if the babby does not have any problems on Chromosome 18 or 13 (I had a full DNA workup done; it doesn’t). I’m just a naturally anxious person (REALLY?) and so every day I’m, like, terrified that something has gone horribly awry with this creature that I desperately want to grow big, come out and commence ruining my life (and I will commence the countdown to when she’s old enough to ride the Tower of Terror and the Harry Potter ride).

As anyone who’s had a babby, been pregnant or watched someone be pregnant knows, the “magical” second trimester is full of a lot of disgusting surprises. The intestinal regularity of an 85-year-old on the Atkins diet. The bladder continence of a 19-year-old Golden Retriever. A chestal region that looks like two over-inflated water balloons being strangled by angry blue wires. A back that feels like it’s being ripped apart, migrating into a pubic bone that feels like it’s being ripped apart. Bursting into uncontrollable sobs at reruns of Clarissa Explains It All.  And, of course, looking like a big giant wide-load who is not yet obviously pregnant-looking. But while my books speak of “anxiety,” none of them prepared me for the all-encompassing and totally irrational terror. 

Fun times.


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Take It From Magical Me: Avoid the Gilderoy Lockharts of the University

You know what galls the everloving bejeezus out of me? When successful tenured professors force their own undergraduates to buy their books for class at full price. No, no, no, no, no. However, writing this article gave me an opportunity to reveal to college students everywhere that “the Potter universe is real, and directly transferrable to the college experience.” At least in this one instance…


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