02: Minor Details [20 January 2013]

After the first day of the second week of class, I finally feel like I am challenging my students at least as much as, if not more than, how much they have been challenging me. I've been fully winging my approach to teaching so far and things are starting to click into place, both in terms of how I run things and the students learning how to respond. I'm not sure they were quite expecting that by "lecture" I meant "I'm going to talk for about five minutes and then spend the rest of the period carefully inciting you lot into arguing with each other until you reach the understandings that I was hoping you'd eventually get". Maybe not every lecture is going to follow this model, but it certainly helps to set the tone of my teaching style to do it early on in the semester.

Accounting for students that I suspect are going to drop, I'm at 17 each for my two sections of digital courses, and four for my alternative process class. The numbers intimidated me until I decided that 17 isn't that much more than 15, which isn't much worse than 12. They've all been well-trained by this point that the first two minutes of every class is a game of 'stump Vincent about our names', which both removes my anxieties about my face-blindness and starts class as more of a back and forth rather than a one-way dump of information.

Yesterday, I picked up a white Chevy Aveo as my personal transportation vehicle for my stay here. All the years I've spent playing with traffic on two wheels or with an under-powered tiny beater of a car seem to have come in handy; the roads here demand an incredibly high amount of vigilance, path-vision, and testicular fortitude. The road segments and intersections all have names, but they're almost entirely useless; I've been navigating purely by just knowing which general direction I should be pointed and adjusting my vectors accordingly. Every time I get into the driver's seat, I seem to pop into a top-down perspective with a larger map overview of the world. Those of you who have played Grand Theft Auto are probably familiar with the view, and potentially the driving style, and probably even the way that speed and breed of the other cars connote a particular social structure.

I've named my car Avery. You know. As in 'Avery the Aveo'.

Between the car, getting some local currency in my pocket, and pushing myself back into a sane eat/sleep/workout cycle, I'm finally starting to feel like an actual person living in the world, instead of a blob of meat getting shuttled between my apartment and campus. I still haven't had much time or energy to do any personal work, but maybe that will come after another week. For now, I've just been taking some time out every night to watch the moon. When I was first living far away from home for an extended period of time, I was reminded that the moon I could see was the same moon that everyone else saw, even if it looked different from different places. On a similar note, I've been listening to the WYEP web stream almost constantly, but the eight hour time shift is rather disorienting.

picture from 02