Wow! When I’m on fire, I’m on fire. Yesterday was a GREAT day for me. It was the first day of the fall semester here at the University, and I made good use of every opportunity for mischief I could find.
Despite the fact that every outside door in the building bears quite prominent signs stating, “Lower Division labs will NOT meet the first week of class,” I saw to it that a seemingly endless parade of clueless undergrads wandered the halls and into and out of offices, seeking sections that were, in fact, NOT meeting. Prep Staff finally made additional signs for each lab door just so staff could get a little peace. I’m meeting with all of the teaching assistants later in the week. My plan is for them to begin lab next week with, “If you would all pass your homework to the front, we will start of with a quiz over last week’s experiment.” Good thing everyone around here is trained to respond appropriately to pukers and fainters.
eCampus, the World Tree-like computer interface that links together schedules, grades, homework, notices, etc. for the entire campus, contracted electronic emerald ash borers yesterday and put forth only tiny dribbles of information. Cue thousands of students wondering why their classes don’t show up and countless staff well and truly stymied in their attempts to upload course files and section folders. This is has become a dependable, if not well-loved, first week of school tradition. Fret not! It will sort itself out once seventy thousand people aren’t all trying to log in at once. I’ve been telling everyone that the “e” in “eCampus” stands for “eventually.”
I brought back another time-honored tradition for the first day of the semester. It poured. Everyone who didn’t heed the forecast endured about twenty minutes of very heavy “50% chance” and arrived at their over-air-conditioned destinations dripping and shivering. Oh, and did I mention there’s a small but definite flu-outbreak in one of the sorority houses?
Surprise! The carefully-negotiated lab teaching schedule for first-semester majors’ biology lasted less than twenty-four hours. Three teaching assistants who had overload assignments (three-sections each) were relieved of their extra sections, and these were given to a new teaching assistant, necessitating a small domino-sequence of changes to the grid. Behold! Is it not a thing of beauty and terror?
Surprise! The recently-quiescent Honors Program in Biology has been resurrected. At yesterday’s staff meeting, the human female and her colleagues were made aware that there will be THREE lab sections of honors first-semester majors’ biology. No info was provided as to who the teaching assistants will be or what they’ll want, of course. The human female and her cohorts have been scrambling to learn their identities, gather their personal information, and get them plugged into the above-pictured grid, email lists, and lab meetings.
The Chancellor and Regents sent a memo to congratulate everyone on doing such a fine job, and the Provost encouraged all the weary staff and faculty to keep producing excellent results and better student outcomes (= higher grades) on a tighter budget, with no sacrifice in quality. Ehehehehe! More budget fun! The only group on campus who seems to be flouri$hing is Engineering. I think they have designs on the entire east side of campus and envision a small tribute state composed of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Science, Education, Liberal Arts, and whatnot out on west campus or out by the river. Hmm. Perhaps I have thrown in my lot with the losing side and should abandon the human female to partner with someone in Engineering in mutual efforts to take over the world…?
The human female received a call from Central Receiving yesterday, informing her that they were holding a shipment with her name on it. “How large?” she enquired. “Small box; about six pounds,” was the reply. Clearly, this was not the long-lost squid and clams, which should be several hundred pounds. The human female agreed that Central could plop the parcel into the campus mail. It arrived yesterday afternoon and proved to contain the ten missing lampreys. The human female was so glad to see their jawless, toothy faces that she said something about making them all small party hats. (Should I be worried about her? Nah.)
A second delivery, this one made to the stock-room, proved to contain fourteen dead cats, part of an order the human female made this spring to the Purveyor of Squiggly Things (and also sometimes Not Squiggly Things.) She has yet, of course, failed to receive the twenty-four stiff kitties she ordered much longer ago than that from the Purveyor of Dead Things. This afternoon she will order twenty-five more. By the Norns’ nose-hairs! It is dead cats 24/7 around here.
She also needs to order eleven microscope slides of human blood, taken from someone afflicted with the malady known as sickle-cell anemia. (Jotuns aren’t afflicted by this malady; it sounds dreadful.) She is put in the guilt-inducing position of hoping that there is someone who is sick enough with this to contract to bleed for a slide-making house.
And I still owe the human female a really rotten prank or two. Her work group has had both Environmental Health and Safety Department (EHSD, AKA Eek! Hazards, Sickness and Death) and Biosafety (BSL, AKA Bacteria, Slime, and Loogies) inspections this week. Despite my best efforts, they passed both with flying colors, but the human female locked me away for the duration of both inspections, so I was unable to point out to the inspectors all of the more subtle-yet-deadly deficiencies. I had to content myself with pointing out that in two of the prep rooms, the safety showers are immediately adjacent to the circuit-breaker boxes and with making sure the human female and her staff received yet another directive about the handling and labeling of biohazard waste. (Long story involving bags of different colors, autoclaves, stickers, and disposal personnel who are convinced that Red Means Instant Annhiliation, such that heretofore any red bag must be put into a black one before they would consent to dispose of it.)
The days are just packed.