Thursday, May 17, 2007

Allow me to introduce...

Behold! For I am no longer a blogspot devotee! I have my own domain, and I likes it!!

please come and visit at


And lo, there was much rejoicing. And pretty-fying to be done. It's a work in progress, naturally, and I have to move all this stuff over, but it will be my summer project.

Along with studying for prelims and writing new, longer syllabi.

Same stuff, new website!

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Originally uploaded by Art Nerd Lauren.

most wired campus, my ass. we still enter grades with number two pencils and bubblesheets!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Amazing what re-starting your router will do...

So I made this image a week ago, but was unable to sign in to my bloggity. But it's still relevant! Still up to my neck in grading, since I couldn't do much of it during this week, but that, my friends, is a story for later in the week. It involves a cortizone shot and my elbow, and that's all I'm gonna tell you.

Also! Coming soon! Stories directly involving students! From last semester, since it is my policy to not talk about students until I won't have to see them again!!

In short, I've been locked out, but am now back. Except that I haven't the time to write. See you soon

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Quirky? Unprofessional? You decide

Many things happen to me in class that I can honestly say I've never had a professor do/say/have happen to them in class.

None of my profs have had their pants malfunction. They've had hideous clothes, but never broken clothes.

None of my profs have stopped a presentation because she or he had to pee. Although I did once have a prof run out, explaining she was "feeling ill" and return a half hour later. And kept teaching like nothing happened.

None have had their contact lens fall off their eye. Oh, but once my favorite prof had to wear her sunglasses because she forgot her indoor glasses. And remember that art history, like most fun things in life, happens in the dark. Hence the need for glasses and contacts in the first case.

Those last two happened to me in the last week. And my voice was cracking like Peter Brady in lecture this morning, where my contact jumped off my eye.

Maybe I'm too rough on myself, and that's something that wasn't apparent to me when beginning this post. These mishaps are typically Lauren, but similar things have happened in classes I've been in.

Hell, I've never been drunk in class, at least! (painting prof got a lil tipsy at the gallery opening on campus and came back to class rosy-cheeked)

Let's hear some stories of professors behaving humanly, everyone!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

An Open Letter to my Body

Dear Right Arm,

I'm sorry to have to do this, but you're so fired. You suck! You have been nothing but problematic since I reached puberty. (This part sounds dirty- just keep listening)

First, when I was in high school, the wrist crapped out on me. Starting gymnastics when you've hit 5' 8" evidently puts certain... stresses on your joints. Being a head taller than your coach should have been some kind of indication.

I had surgery on you, which only kind of worked. I had a cast on you for approximately a whole year, on and off, for various sprains and fractures. And when there wasn't a stinky smelly cast on you, there was a stinky smelly (albeit washable) brace. I was known as the Girl with the Cast for a really long time.

The college years were pretty good. No real problems there, I have to admit. You gripped brushes and pencils, charcoal and conte crayons. You even held my bongs and lit my liters= I really can't get mad at you.

Then. Then I got the shingles. Twice. In less than a year. ON MY RIGHT ARM.

And now? What the fuck, arm- POSTHERPETIC NEURALGIA?! This is an old person's problem. And I have to take an anti-convulsant medication? Please.

I am so over this crap. You'll have to go. Buh bye.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

What's your name, fool?

I was watching America's Next Top Model with my sister (what, you thought Art History profs only watch Masterpiece Theater, listen to classical and sip fine cognac? Yeah, I used to, as well, and I still hold that assumption about my profs. But I am given to the temptation of pretty bitches fighting and fawning over Tyra like the rest of us). And the girls were told to come up with a new name for themselves. And ridiculousness ensued.

Then I checked my email and sighed heavily. See, I've been having a problem, dear readers. I teach at the school I attend, as well as at another school. And at both places, my name is different. School with the Unfortunate Acronym lists me as my married name. Which is my name now, according to social security and all those places that make names official.

At my own school, I have some things in my married name. This includes my ID, my bill, my MA and my own roster. But for some inexplicable reason, my paycheck and my name as it appears on course schedules is my maiden name. I filled out a change-of-name request 2.5 years ago- obviously, my stupid ID is in the right name. And no one can tell me how to change my name on my students' rosters. I am trying to something without a set protocol!

Ugh. So not only are they unsure which title to use (Ms., Mrs., some give me the promotion to Dr.- not yet, my pets!) they also aren't sure what my last name is.

I find it helpful to kind of, well, I guess- talk to myself or about myself in class. A lot of students seemed to have forgotten my name halfway through last semester. So I make it a point when I'm lecturing to say things like, "And I know you're all thinking to yourselves, Prof. X done lost her mind!" or "But Professor X, didn't you say last semester that the Romans...?" Along those lines.

So imagine their surprise when they try to email me and can't find me in the campus directory. I have no idea if they've tried to mail me anything, because my mailbox says my maiden name. AGGRAVATION, bitches, aggravation.

On a side note- I am now sufficiently freaked out. They've asked me to open my summer session II class to grad students. And? The class is closed for undergrads. CLOSED. SUMMER SESSION II. JULY and part of AUGUST. Probably because I'm teaching about the figure in contemporary art- it's sexy, appeals to the art students, and hell, I'm cute!

But GRAD STUDENTS. I'm a grad student. It's only my third semester teaching, it's a three and a half hour class (omg!) and GRAD STUDENTS will be there. Scary. And exciting. At the same time.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Excuses, Excuses

Ya know, I almost wish they'd lie to me.

In a way, I like that I'm the kind of prof you can come to when your boyfriend breaks up with you, or when you boneheadedly forget to do an assignment. I guess they feel this way because I often ramble about my own student days when I'm talking, or that I'm not that far off from their age (though they constantly remind me that I'm not as young as I think... but I digress).

But I just can't relate to someone who overslept for an exam. If I had, I wouldn't tell the professor. And if I did, I'd hightail it to her or him in the middle of the exam without brushing my teeth. I would not email him or her when the class is over and she's sitting in her office trying to eat a soft pretzel and not bother the chick she shares her office with.


I try really hard to remember what I was like as an undergrad. Even in my first semester of grad school, I was pretty clueless. I'd go to class all smoked up, I'd disappear for an hour, go back to my room and take a nap, I'd not do assignments.

I also had disasters happen to me. My roommate's computer ate my paper for an AH class- not once, but twice. My grandmother, whose hospice care I'd been helping with, died the night before I was to give an hour-long presentation in one of my grad classes. My cat walked across one of my drawings, leaving footprints all over the surface.

I've overslept for classes, and that's not that big of a deal to me. But an exam? I don't understand. And when a student oversleeps for an exam, they invariably blame late-night studying for their alarm failure/setting it to pm instead of am/not hearing it, etc. In fact, they tell me they were up all night.

Hello? Up all night means that you're up since you got up yesterday. That your caffeine-addled brain (at least a pot of coffee or 3 Red Bulls full) probably won't shut off when the exam is over. That you probably didn't brush your hair, and if you're a girl, you should be using a writing implement to keep your hair back. You should be wearing layers upon layers of clothing, completely inexplicably. You shouldn't smell very good.

This is the root of my annoynce, I think. Not even putting enough effort into my class to pull a true all-nighter. Where's the dedication?

Of course I'm joking. A little.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A very semi-regular dose of art

I haven't written about art in a while (Didn't I used to do a semi-regular dose of art? Something like that?)

Anyway, I give you Antonello da Messina's St. Sebastian. I LOVE martyr portraits, and this one is particularly fitting for me. I don't mean to complain- do that enough in real life- but I am still hurting pretty bad from my pox. My plague. My pestilence.

So I want to hear your thoughts on these images I steal from other websites, I mean, put up for your viewing pleasure.

Comment! Comment!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

To Whom It May Concern:

Dear Bus Company who hauled me and a group of students to the Metropolitan Museum of Art yesterday-

Thank you for your excellent service. Willie, our bus driver, made our trip quite enjoyable. We had a pleasant experience, we on time and didn't get lost once.

Professor Art Nerd

Except by "enjoyable" I mean "super scary." I don't know what that tollbooth did to him, but scraping the side of it with his bus seemed kind of rash.

Also, by on time I mean almost an hour late. Which is in part because the bus arrived at 8 to pick us up, and believe it or not, it takes a wee bit of time to load a bus up, even with only 17 students.

This situation was exacerbated by the scenic trip down random, rather bus unfriendly streets in New York City. The Met is at 85th Street and 5th Avenue. I'm not sure why we ended up at 110th and Central Park North, but eventually it all worked out.

Also, sir, the EZpass is not a magic wand, no need to wave it wildly in the air at the offending tollbooths, Harry Potter.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Overheard on campus

A for real conversation, brought to you by the nutty professor-

Actually, "overheard" implies that I had to try in some way to hear what this girl was saying. I didn't- she was flat out screaming into her phone. Good lord, woman.

Young Chickie in Uggs and Sweatpants- So, like, it's totally over between me and Mike.
Person She's Screaming At- blah blah
YCiUaS- Yeah, because, like, he's a loser. He goes out drinking like, two
nights a week!
PSSA- blahhhh
YCiUaS- I mean, he has to realize- ya know, when you turn 25, don't you kind of look around and take stock in your life? Don't you realize, like, HEY I'M OLD NOW, I need to be more responsible!

Oh my God, ya'll. I've been kidding myself, thinking these kids wouldn't take me seriously because I'm only 28. I am ANCIENT to them, for real.

I'm depressed. I'd ask you to send wine, but apparently I'm too old to drink.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A pox, redux

Last entry, I think I spoke too soon.
A car crash in which I was not involved- ha!
A day in which I was 12 minutes late to school- haha!
A day in which I felt like a sucky teacher- hahaha!

Last week, I did not know the meaning of Rough Week. Now let's try on for size a week in which I got... wait for it... A Medical Anomaly. (which is not all that unusual for me, really). You may recall, if you've been reading since last July at least, that I had the shingles last summer. Well. I think you may know what I'm about to say.

I fucking got the shingles. Fucking again!!

Come on, now, gob, how much of this can one person take?! I think it may be mother nature's revenge for my extremely mild case of chicken pox in first grade. I remember it, and I remember not feeling bad and being able to count on my fingers the number of pox on my body. Pretty much, I had a free week off from school, and I got to eat lots of cereal. That's it.

Now. Oh my Lord, now.

It hurts this time, you guys. It itches and it hurts. I feel pathetic and gross. And depressed. And gross. And gross.

But! I did not mean to bring you down, just make you aware of the reason I haven't written in a million years. I was having a hard time with the whole blogging thing, feeling worn out in general, and on the Spring Break from hell.

And now? Fresh material, plans for at least 4 entries and, I'm sure, plenty more to talk about. Just wanted to 'splain myself, if anyone is left, that is...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Rough Week

Ugh, what a week I've had. Feeling like the most inept professor ever right now.

Among the frustrations-

Tuesday- fricking digital slideshows were completely messed up. As in, only the top half of some images would download, no matter how many times I tried quitting and restarting. Also, images that I know I selected never showed up in the files. And? The images I did have were out of sequence.

Wednesday- Big accident on major road I have to take to get to campus. Or a breakdown, it's kind of hard to tell. All I know is that there was a big pickup truck with flashing lights and a cop behind it. And for some reason, the cop left him blocking a lane and a half. Was 15 minutes late for class.

But here's the crazy thing- The Students Were Still There! Well, one was trying to sneak out as I walked in, but five of the six students I have were still in the classroom. I always thought that if a prof was 10 minutes late, you got to leave, no counting as a missed class. Apparently this school says 20 minutes. I felt a little bad, then, walking in at the brink of a free day off.

Thursday- today. I have a hellacious earache. Like, stabbing pain in the head kind of thing. And a slight fever. So I cancelled class. And I feel like a jerk. If it were another job, I'd still definitely call out. But I feel bad if people traveled to campus only to have their classes cancelled. Though I did send out an email about 2 hours before one class started and the other class was an afternoon class. They all emailed me back with obligatory "Get well soon, prof" brownie emails.

Bring on Spring Break, please!

Monday, February 19, 2007

I'm a brat and my laser pointer is out to get me

So I realize I sound like a total brat in that last post. I guess it bugs me when my mom is hurt or otherwise not well because she acts just like my mom-mom. And we had to take care of her for my whole life. And my mom usually rails against that behavior. So when she gives in to it, I just... lose it?

Anyway, on to bigger and better things. See, I'm having technical difficulties in class. In all my classes. The piece of technology is rather simple- it's not a projector issue or a computer issue. It's my stupid frickin laser pointer.

See the worst thing is that it only. acts up. at school. Ya know, when I need it. I was teasing the cats with it just last night! But today, when I was giving the world's most boring lecture on castles, it gave up on me.

I've tried batteries. I even bought new ones, forgoing the cache of batteries we found in mom-mom's house when she passed, even though they're dated to 2007. It might be that the new batteries are from the dollar store?

But it's so so embarrassing because they're not that expensive. But since it works when I'm home, I never go out to get a new one. I swear I'm technologically literate. Swear.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

CAA or my mom busted her ass

The College Art Association conference was this week in New York. I had plans to go on Thursday and Friday- cancelled class and everything. I went last year, too, in Boston, and it was...ummm...interesting? I guess? As interesting as conferences get. I've only ever been to this one, but I assume that all these professional conferences are the same deal- go to be seen, attend lectures on other people's research, and schmooze. Bleh. The best way to tell if a person is an artist or an art historian is to check the shoes- art historians wear awful shoes. As a discipline, we are very frumpy people. (Except yours truly, of course!)

This week was the week of SNOW, glorious, class cancelling, snowday-creating SNOW! It also made my parents' front steps really really slippery. Unfortunately, my mom fell on Wednesday and hurt her back.since I'm the one in the family who a.) will put up with her bed-ridden orchestrations of housework and b.) doesn't have a conventional job, with the days off already and everything, I had to stay with her.

Oh. my. god. My mom is a pain in the ass! She very much likes to boss me around- this is nothing new. She and my sister have been bullying me around since, like, forever. But my mom's requests are just too much. For instance- she needed her covers adjusted so that the extra comforter was a perfect right angles to the mattress! And she asked me to do a load of whites for her today- 7 times in the span of a half hour. The same half hour that I was cleaning up her kitchen and folding her darks!! Demanding doesn't begin to describe it!

I'm looking forward to Monday- even though I have to talk about castles, it'll still be a relief to get away!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

No longer locked out!

Praise jeebus! I was locked out for a bit, but now I am back. Part of the problem may have been that I sort of forgot my username. And now that I have a gmail account, I am sort of confused about which user name to use.

But who cares about all that? You just want to know what it's like to prep three classes at two different universities. Or do you?

Truth be told, I'm reading textbooks and taking notes like a crazy person. I'm just about to the part of the semester where my two intro classes start to overlap, and coming up after spring break, the class I designed myself will discontinue lectures and start with student presentations.

But that's not what I want to talk about either! I have some crazy students this semester, y'all. And? I think I can blog about them in non-specific, threat-of-doocing-free terms.

For instance- a student made it known to me that she has some sort of social anxiety problem. It makes it very hard for her to get up in front of class. She says it's on file, so I contact Disabilities Resources. The by-the-book thing to do, right? Because in-class presentations count for a total of 40 percent of the grade, and I really didn't know in what way I could adapt these requirements and still have them be fair to all involved. So I tell her of the procedure, which she as the student needs to initiate.

Nope, she just wants to handle it the old fashioned way- "Well, this is something I'm just going to have to deal with. I'm a senior and I can't get many accommodations in the working work (to some extent, I agre- but she is an art major... so in what capacity she'll deal with the regular working world, I don't know) No, I think I'll just start my anti-depressants again." And it was one of those things where I reacted like, oh, okay, because I mistakenly thought she'd made a REASONABLE suggestion of solution.

What the hell?!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Best purchase at the Target dollar spot, ever

When I became a professor, I decided that I'd be the cool professor who carried a stapler with her. I mean, hey, I like office supplies, and a stapler is a very nice thing to own, right?

I thought I'd lend it out to people who had taken their test apart (why do they do this?) Maybe some people would try to hand me an unstapled paper. Then maybe I'd charge them for the use of said stapler. An old trick I learned from the IHM nuns who taught in my school.

I never in a million years thought I'd have to use it to staple my pants shut. On the second day of class. And this particular pair of pants was already a bit big (thankyaverymuch, 8 year old cousin who suggested it was for the opposite reason that I lost my button). I've never been so scared; luckily I managed to spare my student the sight of my ass. For now.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I do as I'm told

Teacher Lady over at Sex Ed in Higher Ed hath decreed this week to be National Blog About Your Favorite Low-Profile or Underrated Actor Week. I kind of miss doing assignments, so here goes my submission:

You must know by now that I am a complete whore for HBO series. The exceptions being the Wire (too sad) and Deadwood (too western, cocksucker). You may recall how I walked around dazed for a few days with the end of Six Feet Under. One might expect this entry to further celebrate my love for Peter Krause, who played Nate in the series.

That's where you're wrong. Not because my crush has died, but because I'm going further underground than that critically-acclaimed, mucho-celebrated series. My new favorite show on HBO is Rome, and it is mostly due to the fine acting skillz (see, mixing the high and the low culture there...) of one Mr. Kevin McKidd.

Love this guy. I love that his natural speaking voice is a thick Scottish brogue. (Scots have brogues, right? Or is that the Irish? I AM Irish-American, I should know this stuff!!) I love his strawberry blonde hair, whic really sets him apart from the rest of the cast, who are mostly Italian or English. Also, I love his character in the show.

He was in many other movies, of which I've only seen Trainspotting. Now, call me what you will, but I really only needed to see that movie once. I just know that Kevin McKidd played the soccer player. I'll never watch it again, even if you tell me that he AND Ewan MacGregor are naked, together, in the film. Even then. i'm that serious.

I love the way he plays the character of Lucius Vorenus, and his relationship with his best friend Titus Pullo. The Augustan period is one that I've studied in-depth, so I know a lot of the history that goes along with it (although I am not one of those dorks on IMDB that points out historical inaccuracies or anything). Vorenus' journey, which parallels Caesar's in the first season and Octavian's in the second, is less familiar. He's taken a dramatic turn from upstanding family man to evil "son of hades" collegium head (collegium is the mafia of antiquity). Seriously.

It also doesn't hurt that his now deceased wife is SMOKIN hot.

homina-homina. Their relationship was tender and sensitive and wonderfully played.

So, ya'll, watch Rome and see my friend Kevin McKidd. I promise that if they renew it for another season because of the surge in viewership this post is sure to cause, I will have a Rome viewing party at my house. Or I will continue to gush about the series here on Mondays. One or the other!

Friday, January 19, 2007

um, hello, blogger?

On Tuesday, I wrote a whole post on my new pain-in-the-ass weeding out addition to my first day of class activities. A half-page questionairre that asks for the usual info and a carefully worded- Anything else I need to know? It'll take a while to figure out, but I'm going to tentatively say that it worked.

I know it's hard to imagine, but Blogger seems to have eaten it. It's gone. It was good, too! I told you about my two new least favorite words- Senior Scholar. Translated- an old person who comes to your class to test the limits of both your patience and your knowledge of the subject area. And? This person is in both of the classes I teach at my own school.

But you can't read it. Gone! Poof!

I've been trying to write an entry about how I'm the hottest professor ever, anywhere, but I can't concentrate right now. There's a concert going on behind me. My 8 year old cousin is over, and she's absolutely LOVING Karaoke Revolution Party. But mostly loving hearing her own voice projected through the television. If I ever hear "Play that Funky Music, White Boy" or Ashlee Simpson's "Pieces of Me" again, it'll be too soon. Send help. Or ear plugs

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The dreaded document

I'll admit it. I've been pretty sunshine-and-roses about the whole teaching thing. There is one thing I really hate about it.

Writing the syllabus.

I hate doing this. I've been "at it" (and by at it, I mean reading other people's blogs, chatting with friends, and being in the general vicinity of the computer without actually typing anything) for a few days now. I have one completely finished, but it doesn't really count because someone who has taught the class before forwarded me his syllabus, and I changed all instances of his name to mine, and fixed the dates to relate to this year. I've completed the course outline for the second syllabus, and the third? Well, the outline is filled out in relation to the dates the class will be meeting, anyway.

Of course, this is all kinds of bad, because I've left to last the syllabus I'm designing myself. I have some syllabi from other schools that I'm using for reading assignments and things like that, but of course I'll skew it to artists I know a little something about.

God, I hate doing this. The worst part is the introduction to the syllabus, or the "cover your ass section" as I like to call it. I have some re-wording to do of last semester's syllabus. I feel like I have to clearly state everything, and have a policy in place for just about every excuse and mistake that can be made.

Late paper? 5 point deduction for each day late. But does that include weekend days? I don't know. working on that one.
Miss an exam? Must contact me before the exam starts by email in order to begin arrangements. Working pretty well. Stole it from one of my favorite profs.
Attendance? Now see, this one is rough. I don't care if they come to class or not. Really, I don't. But there is a 10 per cent part of their grades that is based on attendance. But I don't like to keep roll, this ain't high school, ladies. So I'm also still working on this one.

I fear a growing syllabus. I also fear not covering something and have it throw me. And mutinies and people barfing in class. Among other fears. But this part of the semester is the worst part.

Except for the part when I have already made 30 copies of the syllabus and find that I've, oh, maybe, spelled my own name wrong. That may or may not have happened.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I think I'm cute, anyway.

It seems that, much like I am with my myspace account, I am a taker, not a giver.

Wait, that sounds wrong.

But I like it. Deal!

Anyway. I love reading other people's blogs. Love. It. And I guess I feel pretty un-interesting in comparison. Or something. Just like I love to collect friends on myspace and never write to them. Unless I need something.

Oh well, new year, time to start over. But there really hasn't been much to report! Unless you want to know about the hellacious cold I had between Christmas and New Year's Day. The one that seems to be coming back right. now.

Oh, I did have a moment that could be loosely dubbed as academic, since, remember, wikipedia counts this joint as an academic blog and all. Ahem. I am not rated on ratemyprofessors. And I am sad. I think I secretly wished for a chili pepper or two. I AM CUTE DAMMIT!!

I wish you all could see the one rating I got on myspace though. Well, those of my readers who know me in real life can certainly find it. Anyway, I am, apparantly, amusing with my high heels and corny jokes. I am also accomodating *read: a pushover* and I understand that the little dears have other classes that are MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY OWN.

Huh? What?

Lovely. I really want that kind of reputation. Obviously the review came from earlier in the semester, or this child is extremely unobservant. Perhaps they mistook the hobbling I did because of my cast for hobbling in high heels. So perhaps I am not dealing with someone whose critique, if not anonymous, I would value anyway.

I don't know. I just want a damn cherry pepper.