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Ah, well. I know I did something meta recently. Yes, two weeks ago, when I said I missed spending hours here every day with all of you wonderful people. I'm accustomed to it now, and my Kos commitments are pretty much manageable with the course load. But OMGZ. I'm out of training, and the two new preps, well . . .

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More process. Of course I've had to prepare more than one class at a time for a semester, but the last time that happened was TEN YEARS AGO, for Fall 2003. That was the first semester I taught as someone with a doctorate, and the two courses were the United States before 1865, which, as you've seen from the diaries I wrote from my lecture notes, I pretty much own now, and a method course in history, which involved keeping a week ahead of my students since I didn't assign anything I hadn't read already. Second new prep, an American Studies course called "The American Character" for Fall 2004 which was the only course I was teaching that semester. Next, Cultural History of the United States for Fall 2005. That one is so malleable that I tweaked it and tweaked it and finally in Fall 2008 turned it into a course on the history of celebrity in the United States.  Only new prep between then and now was US in the Twentieth Century for the Fall of 2006. And those are the courses I taught for the first eight years I was teaching.

You'll remember my last new prep before this semester. It was for last spring: Cultural and Social History of the United States. A major tweak on my Cultural History classes, but the other two classes I was teaching last semester were both the United States since 1865, so no major problems there. That made this semester a little more tricky.

I've taught this many credit hours before, too. It's just that during those  semesters, it was US Survey and Cultural History in various combinations. I'll repeat what I have this semester in case anyone forgot:

Monday and Wednesday, 12:30 -3:20 PM: US before 1865 and History of California
Tuesday and Thursday, 8 - 9:25 AM: Western Civilization to either 1500 or 1750. I'm not sure.
Tuesday and Thursday, 11:10 AM -12:35 PM: (MAYBE!) US in the Twentieth Century. I own this too. This is the course I'm substituting in. It started as two weeks, now it's five weeks, and I'm hoping the college administration tells the full-time guy not to bother teaching this semester soon.
Tuesday, 3:45-6:55 PM: US before 1865
Thursday, 2:00 - 6:00 PM: US History in 14 weeks (this will be the third time for this, so no horrors here). Yes, I'm taking Thursday, October 10 off. I'll figure out when to make that up with my class (this is a specialized film school) during the first meeting, which will be 9/26.

It's manageable. But it's the nature of the two new preps. Before the Gold Rush, which happens the week after next in my California course, I'm teaching myself as I go along. In the Western Civ course, I'm also teaching myself because, well, I really don't touch on any of this until we get to maybe the 15th Century. That will happen around Thanksgiving. The only good thing in the two preps is that they aren't the same day.

So this week I had to teach all four days. It's the third week of classes. The first week, you really don't do anything Monday or Tuesday. The second week, I had Monday (Labor Day) and Thursday (Rosh Hashanah) off. This week, no. All four days. So History of California first. The first real class session, I introduced them to Kevin Starr, Carey McWilliams, and Joan Didion. Mistake. Not enough material. Their second, on California before European contact, I figured they might like to see REAL California Indians so I played them the Native American Caucus from this years Netroots Nation conference. I was at the caucus, and I had forgotten that only one of the panelists had talked about actual history. Rapt attention for her, crickets for the other two speakers.

So on Monday we began two sessions on California as part of the Spanish Empire. I hadn't retitled a file so Monday, I couldn't find the presentation and I had to work from my notes. I don't think I even got through an hour of the 85 minutes. They were okay slides, too. I managed a fairly decent presentation (written Monday night) on the Hittites, Minoans, Mycenaeans, Sea People, Persians and Israelites Tuesday morning, and the rest of the day went all right. Did I mention that the woman I sublet from was in the apartment with two friends all day Tuesday packing for her move? I got home around 7:15 and found most of the tables packed and a bookcase I thought was staying going. I was in no mood to write anything, so I had a beer with dinner and I was asleep by 10.

AND UP AT 3 AM to write part II of California in the Spanish Empire. But THIS time I remembered I could go to the databases and find stuff on the mistreatment of the Indians by the Franciscans. So part of my presentation of what Carey McWilliams called the Spanish Fantasy past of California was about the particular experiences of the Chumash Indians and part was about the issue of mistreatment as it has applied to the canonization process of Junipero Serra, and I brought in a couple of later literary representations. Only 70 minutes, but I had the feeling the class REALLY liked it, so we're fine there.

Then, after an early dinner, I sat down to write about Greece in the Golden Age of Athens (500-400 BCE). I got all my slides together, and I started pasting stuff in from websites -- this, by the way, is why I'm not diarying this course this semester because I don't really own it yet -- and then I noticed no Homer, no Iliad, no Odyssey. Right. 250 years of Greek History I was about to skip. So I put together some slides on that, and got up at 4 this morning to complete the process, and now I'm done for this week. Plus, my new slides for next Tuesday are ready! Tomorrow, Monday and Wednesday for next week (California under Mexican rule and FINALLY some stuff I have in my notes already, the Mexican War), Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday (I have Tuesday mostly done), and Sunday grading three sets of paper proposals, after a most of the day faculty meeting at the specialized film school.

So that's why you're not seeing that much of me these days. I'm okay.

And now for the stuff that makes this Top Comments:

TOP COMMENTS, September 12, 2013: Thanks to tonight's Top Comments contributors! Let us hear from YOU when you find that proficient comment.

From DRo:

Joieau made a wonderfully snarky comment in DRo's own diary, NSA Built the Back Doors and Made Them Standard
From mrsgoo:
The comment thread  started by webgenie and helped along by AnnetteK, FloridaSNMom, antirove, and slippytoad in ericlewis0's diary about the sparsely attended Benghazeeeeeeeeeee rally was priceless.
From your intrepid diarist:
Another entire comment thread. This time it's from ericlewis0's diary, Hatemonger Pastor Terry Jones Jailed In Failed Attempt to Burn 2,998 Qur'ans. Admittedly, this is what they mean when they compare stuff to shooting fish in a barrel, but we sure are a witty group here.
TOP MOJO, September 11, 2013 (excluding Tip Jars and first comments):
  1) Lucky they considered that possiblity by Catte Nappe — 124
  2) Wow. by Bindle — 109
  3) Sarah Palin by AnnetteK — 106
  4) always trust your dog. always. by pfiore8 — 103
  5) I tend not to want war criminals... by Meteor Blades — 101
  6) If they are in fact sharing by Richard Lyon — 95
  7) If these allegations prove true by luvsathoroughbred — 93
  8) In the photo... by rudewarrior — 82
  9) Good Dog, Good Dog! by Lonely Liberal in PA — 79
10) I suggest you consider the statements of by Valtin — 78
11) How come these folks aren't concerned with what by elwior — 77
12) Because the president who started that war by WFBMM — 74
13) The grass, yes, is much in evidence. n/t by Meteor Blades — 72
14) "It isn't about leading from the front" by Inland — 72
15) My dalmatian, now departed...... by Bensdad — 72
16) I have the exact opposite "problem." by navajo — 67
17) Come on Tom by david mizner — 66
18) O'Bagy has financial ties to Syrian rebels as well by Scarce — 65
19) Yes, though by Valtin — 63
20) But-but-but by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker — 62
21) Took me a while to get that by Brit — 62
22) you have to want to understand the source by Laurence Lewis — 62
23) Lying liars lying us into war by Johnny Q — 62
24) I don't think it's guilt by association by greenbastard — 61
25) So Israel is tasked with enforcing US by Lost Left Coaster — 61
26) Oh yeah and ShelterBox!!!! by TexMex — 59
27) I clearly remember when it was CT to say that by BigAlinWashSt — 58
28) The incredible rise in police brutality by Demi Moaned — 57
29) This means they may get it all by DRo — 57
30) The post assumes by Armando — 56
31) I wish I could believe the pipeline explanation by Brit — 56
For an explanation of How Top Mojo Works, see mik's FAQing Top Mojo

TOP PHOTOS, September 11, 2013: Enjoy jotter's wonderful PictureQuilt below. Just click on the picture and it will magically take you to the comment that features that photo. Have fun, Kossacks!

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