The story behind the name:

One evening, at the Old Broadway Grill in Fargo, North Dakota, my brother caught the end of a Mountain Dew commercial. In the commercial, a Mountain Dew drinker was riding a shark in the ocean. My brother exclaimed in surprise, not realizing that it was a commercial. When I told him he declared "All I saw was a guy coming out of the shower with a shark." Of course, he meant water, but the idea of showering with sharks has been with me ever since.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Slyther-what?

So, Ali and I were just talking Harry Potter. Specifically, we were discussing house colors and knitting. Apparently, there is a Harry Potter Knit Projects book that contains many thing Ali wants to learn to make... like Slytherin leg warmers. Ali loves Slytherin and believes she would be in Slytherin House. I think I'd be in Ravenclaw.

"If you learn to knit, would you knit me Ravenclaw leg warmers for my birthday? What are Ravenclaw colors anyway? Blue and..."

"Bronze," says Ali. "Some people may be confused and think it is silver, but silver is Slytherin's color."

"What is Hufflepuff?"

"Black and yellow."

"Wait," says I, "Gryffindor gets gold, Slytherin gets silver, bronze for Ravenclaw, but Hufflepuff gets... black?... and yellow...? They kinda got screwed."

"Yeaaaaa... If I wasn't Slytherin, I'd be Hufflepuff..."

Ali does a pirouette in my office doorway.

"I'd be a... SlytherPuff!"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Love My Students

I gave an application final in my public speaking class. One of the questions asked them to write a complete, 5-part introduction for a speech topic of their choice. Here is my favorite entry:

This speech is given in Florida with an Australian accent

Attention catcher: Close your eyes and imagine this. It is a hot day outside and you want to cool down. You decide that the best way to do this would be to jump in the pool. You put on your swim suit and run to the pool, just before heading in you realize that there is a large crocodile lurking in your waters!

Listener Relevance: This sort of thing happens to 8 out of 10 families living in Florida who have a pool.

Credibility: I know just how often it happens because I'm the one they call when they want that croc out of their pool.

Thesis: Today, I'm going to let you how you can protect yourself during these hot days of summer.

Preview: In order to do this I will tell you about how to prevent crocodiles from coming into your pool, what to do when they do come into your pool, and I will teach you how to properly wrestle a monster croc!

Never in all my years teaching have I heard the words "properly wrestle a monster croc".

Moments like these assure me that I have chosen the right career!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

O. M. G.

Good grief.

Here's the story. My beloved Ali Rapp is graduating in the spring. Besides being a friend of mine, she is also the person who (wo)mans the front desk of the comm studies department and she is also the tutor for the Speaker's Lab. The fact that she is graduating means that we need to hire new people (or a new person) for these positions. In order to make this happen, I have been filling out forms and have been communicating with our human resources department so that we can get the jobs posted and then filled. First of all, let me just say that working with bureaucracy is not my favorite thing on the best of days, but this whole HR fiasco has just been ridiculous.

Anyway, back to the job postings... I have a student, Susie, who I think should apply for the positions. The only problem is that she is studying abroad in Africa next semester when the jobs are supposed to be officially posted. SO, I tell her to go to HR and ask about applying early. She comes back and tells me that I have to tell HR that it is ok for her to apply early. Ok, says I, I will send them an email.

So, I send them an email.

I get CCed on a message sent to someone else in HR asking this other someone to help me out.

I hear nothing more for two weeks.

Susie says to me, "The job posting still isn't up."

I say "I'll email again."

So I do. I'm paraphrasing, but here what happens in the ensuing email exchange.

Me: Please send applications to my student Susie for the two positions.

HR: What positions? You need to fill out forms.

Me: I did fill out forms. I sent them to you in October.

HR: Really? Weird. No forms. Can you send them again?

Me: Here are the forms. Again.

HR: Hey, thanks for the forms. We'll get these positions posted after Christmas.

Me (in my office, to myself): W. T. F.??!!!!!???? Is there a real person on the other end of this email or is this just some kind of a joke? Am I being punked right now?

Me (email to HR): Can you PLEASE send the application forms early to my student, Susie, who is studying abroad next semester and wants to apply. (Does this sound familiar? Like, oh, the first THREE emails I send to HR about this problem? It probably does, because it is EXACTLY like those first three emails.)