Fighting Jet Lag and More Dreams of Taiwan

I am fighting my jet lag hard so that I can return to a normal schedule as soon as possible. After arriving back in the States, I was able to get about 6-7 hours of sleep on Sunday evening, which put me at a wakeup time of 7:00AM on Monday morning. I was surprisingly able to stay awake all Monday, but I felt like I was in a half-daze. The effects of my sleep cycle daze bore down hard when I began to feel the weight of sleeplessness in the afternoon. I fought on by driving to Microcenter to get an Intel 120GB SSD drive for an amazingly low price, and I picked up dinner from Chipotle. I managed to stay awake until midnight when I went back to sleep.

During the night, I dreamt of Taiwan and Jhongli. I remember going somewhere with Y’s Dad and he showed me something. I woke up during the middle of the night and told some of it to Y, so I will have to corroborate any details with her after she wakes up today.

This morning, my 9:00AM alarm woke me, so I feel well rested after having a longer rest last night. Perhaps today, I will feel half-way normal as I continue cleaning the house and teach in the afternoon.

My Spring 2011 semester of teaching begins today, and I think I am well rested enough to stand my ground in front of 25 eager (they are eager, right?) Freshmen students. I will introduce them to their College Writing I class with the theme, “Mapping the Brain, Writing the Mind.” I will post a syllabus on after I have it finalized.

Dreams of Taiwan

Last night, Y and I slept very soundly after such a long trip to get back to the States. I am surprised however that I dreamed of Taiwan. Normally, I don’t remember my dreams, and I don’t recall having a dream about a foreign country that I have visited before.

The dream was simple yet satisfying. It was Y and I walking through small shops in Taiwan. The one that I remember the strongest from the dream was a store that sold Star Wars props from the first three films–something that I definitely did not see in Taiwan.

I think it is significant as well considering Taiwan’s convenience store culture that I woke up at 7:11 AM on the dot.

Other Dreams, Other Worlds, Other Syllabi

After I posted my dream about teaching on another planet a few days ago, Mack Hassler emailed me a recent article that he wrote about the history of world building in science fiction. This made me realize that creating syllabi for new courses, as I had been doing for a job application, was a form of world building. As a teacher, you imagine what is the best environment and situations to accomplish the goals of a given course. As a classroom world builder, you consider what texts, order, and assignments will help you achieve those goals. I wrote this back to Mack in response to his essay:

Thanks for emailing me your piece on world building! It was an
enjoyable read, and a good reminder of some of the heavy work in
science fiction–building worlds. I finished writing two syllabi for
the GT application just before dinner time. Not exactly
worlds, but smaller worlds–perhaps on the scale of Kubrick’s/Clarke’s
Discovery or Lucas’ Death Star. One is in Biomedicine and Culture and
the other is Science, Technology, and Postmodernism. . . . It was fun
constructing those worlds with my selections of flora and fauna.
However, I do not know what kind of people will join me on those
worlds–I hope that it will not turn out like Dick’s A Maze of Death.
I will mail all of this out on Monday and we will see how it goes.
Now, it is time to return to my Kent State writing worlds and do some
grading, after which it will be time to dissertate, if I can find
Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.

I am writing this blog post from my office at Kent State, which is anything but a Fortress of Solitude. Cutting at the chaos outside with a slammed door has at least helped me get some layout work and this post done.

I will post my sample syllabi soon in a subsequent post.