Monday, April 24, 2006


I’m looking for input on this, so feel free to post anything in response.

Basically, I’m undecided about what I should do next semester (Fall 2006). By the end of June, I will have to take either two or three classes to finish my Masters degree. I had thought about taking a year off and going overseas to teach somewhere, then coming back here for a semester. If I did this, I could get three credits as a practicum, but I would still have to come back to Salisbury to take the last required class. I don’t think there is any way to get out of taking the class here (I don’t think I could do it as an independent study—but that is something that I need to talk to some profs about, I think).

The good parts of this plan are:
It would get me out of Salisbury!
I would actually be teaching. (I’ve been tutoring English for almost five years now. I’m ready to work with an actual class.)
I would probably be in a place where I could make friends. (Or at least I might have something in common with the people around me).
I’m tired of school. Kind of.

The bad parts of this plan are:
I would have to come back to Salisbury.
I would delay getting my degree by one year.
I would have to come back to Salisbury.
My favorite prof. will be taking a semester break when I comeback—if she hasn’t found a job in another university by then!

On the other hand, I may be able to take the last class (a methods class) at another university and have the credit transferred in. So I could conceivably, after a year of teaching, come back to the states, find a teaching job somewhere, take a methods class at a neighboring university, and then be done with the degree. But I would probably have to work as an adjunct, which would mean no rights, no benefits. (But then, when have I ever worked at a job in which I had both rights and benefits?) But then, even with a Masters, there is no guarantee that I would be able to find a non-adjunct job. But there is no guarantee that, in a year, the TESOL program at Salisbury would be willing to work with me to transfer a class in (so far the English department has been less than cooperative).

Here is what I’m thinking:
I will stay here one more semester if I can teach a class—either as a graduate assistant or… well, whatever. Both of the TESOL profs here have suggested to me that I teach the ESL composition class in the Fall. I can’t see that the English department would really go for that, though.
I will not stay here if I have to put in another semester at the writing center. I don’t mind working with the students, but this place is driving me nuts.

I just feel so isolated here—it is really, really hard to convince myself to stay for another half a year. I have no friends here. Granted, I’m not exactly the friendliest person in the world, but how can I, after a year, not have made any friends? Salisbury is stifling and the people here are cold. This has not been a positive experience at all. I, ever since high school, was looking forward to being in graduate school. I had been told that that was where I would really blossom. Ha! I think I’ve been buried under too much shit here to flower properly.

So, comments? Suggestions? Thoughts?

Friday, April 14, 2006

AAAAAGGGHHH!! Attack of the Killer Eggs!

Hazardous Egg Reappears on Store Shelves

By Caroline E. MayerWashington Post Staff WriterFriday, April 14, 2006; Page D01

The Consumer Product Safety Commission yesterday issued a safety alert, warning consumers about a candy egg that may be dangerous to children under 3 because it contains small plastic pieces that children might swallow.
The Kinder Surprise is a chocolate eggshell that contains a plastic capsule of small parts that assemble into a toy. Either individually or assembled, these plastic parts are so small that they can pose a serious choking or aspiration hazard to young children, the CPSC said.

The product, wrapped in orange and white foil, is popular abroad but has been banned in the United States since 1997. Even so, every Easter season, Kinder Surprise eggs appear on many store shelves.
This year, the product was spotted in the District at Rodman's Discount Food & Drugs, a discount drugstore turned emporium of international food and electronics. At the request of the CPSC, Rodman's pulled Kinder Surprise from its shelves yesterday. Each egg was selling for $2.29.

"Retailers who are unaware that the product has been banned for sale should remove it from store shelves, and parents should take them away from children," said CPSC spokeswoman Julie Vallese.

Kinder Surprise is made by the Italian candymaker Ferrero Group. Monika Forndran, general counsel for the company's American division, Ferrero USA, said Ferrero doesn't distribute Kinder Surprise in the United States. "If you found Kinder Surprise here, it would be an unauthorized product," Forndran said. "It is an unauthorized product and comes in illegally."

Consumers Union alerted CPSC that Kinder Surprise was being sold in the United States after senior counsel Janelle Mayo Duncan spotted it while shopping at Rodman's. When it comes to mixing toys with chocolate, "there is a long-standing concern that you are confusing a child and may be encouraging them to eat things related to their toys," Duncan said.

She noted that Food and Drug Administration rules bar candymakers from embedding "non-nutritive objects" in their products.

The FDA had no comment on Kinder Surprise, saying it was a CPSC issue. However, in a previous case involving a different chocolate-covered toy egg that contained larger toys that weren't deemed a choking hazard, the FDA approved the product because chocolate fell away from the plastic egg when the foil was unwrapped.
The product Duncan spotted in Rodman's was labeled in Polish, called Kinder Surprise on one side, "Kinder Nespodzianka" on the other. A small circle, less than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, contains the European warning that the product is not suitable for children under 3. The product also has a written warning in slightly larger print that the toy is not appropriate for children under 3 because the parts may be swallowed or block respiratory passages. But that warning is in Polish. There is another warning in other languages, including English, inside the plastic capsule.

Roy Rodman, president of Rodman's, said he has seen Kinder Surprise in other stores in the United States. "I thought the government was allowing them in and checking them," he said. "The minute they told me there was a problem, we pulled these things."

I ate Kinder Surprise eggs all the time when I lived in Germany, Canada, and France. The chocolate is awesome and the toy is usually very cleverly designed. I dont know 1) What parent would be dumb enough to give a very young child a Kinder Surprise egg and 2) What child would actually be dumb enough to try and swallow a large, orange, plastic capsule. I would think that that would be a very good arguement for Darwinism.

Ugh. I guess I will have to continue to depend on my international sources for my occasional Kinder kick. Thank you, my unnammed benefactors, for helping to keep me in illegal chocolate!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

How do I smell?

"Middle class whites [...] may be surprised to discover that a common stereotype blacks hold of whites is that they 'smell like dogs coming in out of the rain.' Asians have a similar stereotype of Caucasions."
(Saville-Troike, 1976: 51).

I am going to be so paranoid with my Korean students now.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Real good sound bite there, Bubba

This WTF moment has been brought to you by the extreme religious right. Enjoy.

"'Think how marginalized racists are,' said Baylor, who directs the Christian Legal Society's Center for Law and Religious Freedom. 'If we don't address this now, it will only get worse.'"


Right. Those poor, marginalized racists. My bleeding liberal heart goes out to them.

Here is a picture of the Paw Paw Tunnel from way back when. The boats go alongside the tow path. The railing inside the tunnel is the original railing and has been worn smooth by years of having ropes run over it between the boat and the mule. There isn't this much water now, so it would be impossible to get a boat from Georgetown to Cumberland on the C & O canal.

More on the C & O canal

This is a picture of part of the C & O canal. A lot of the canal has filled in, so there would be no way for mules to drag barges along it now!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

C & O Canal: Paw Paw Tunnel

Today Dad and I went on a Sierra Club hike through and then over the Paw Paw Tunnel on the C & O Canal. The tunnel is about 3/5 of a mile long. There are no lights inside it, so we had to use flashlights.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Let's go fly a kite!

I went kite-flying last Sundy with a couple of friends. We managed to launch a giant turtle several times, but we couldn't keep him in the air (the wind kept dying on us). We eventually had to move on to playing with a frisbee (yea Shari, for thinking of bringing a frisbee!). The park we went to (Lum's State Park in Delaware) had a frisbee golf course... I remember the first frisbee golf course I saw. It was in Oregon, and I thought it was one of the weirdest (and dumbest) thing I'd ever seen. (I still think that). Anyway, great fun was had by all, and I managed to get my first sunburn of the year.

Coming up soon:

I am going to try and follow the race on my bicycle--especially if I can talk my Dad or one of my friends into riding with me. Hmmmm... which of my friends is weird enough to want to see the race (and dumb enough to want to do it from the ever-so-uncomfortable seat of a bicycle)?