See, this is what happens when I drink a bunch of wine, but I can’t go to sleep yet. Drunkblogging. AGAIN.

First of all: I want a cigarette really, really badly. Yes, it has been almost 10 months since a cigarette has touched my lips. No, I’m not going to smoke a cigarette, because even if I could get one right now (and I can’t, which is good), that would just be stupid. But I want one, and in my head I’m making excuses for why it would be okay, and it wouldn’t, and that annoys me.

Second: 4 papers to go. Really, does it even matter at this point if I comment, or what I say, about these papers? Clearly, they all bored me the first few times I tried to read them, or I wouldn’t find myself at T-9 hours with papers still to grade. And also, clearly, I have nothing helpful to say about them; they’re not awful papers, they’re not great papers, and I have no comments that seem to be helpful. These papers are Mediocre. Will I somehow produce the One Brilliant Comment that makes the writers of these papers realize the difference between mediocrity and superiority and causes bountiful, gripping, compelling prose to flow from the depth of their souls? Really, I’m thinking probably not.

Third: This is irrelevant, because in nine hours all my hard work, all my empathetic comments and constructive criticism and snarky asides (hopefully not so many of those) and time-consumingly-produced-but-inevitably-poorly-judged grades will be weighed, evaluated, and second-guessed by a jury of my peers and CourseHead. Oh: and someone from the teaching center. I would be so much better off just calling in drunk, but I think, sadly, those days might be over for me.

SOMEONE persuaded me that drinking and playing online was a better idea than grading. (Okay, fine, it was really not that difficult to persuade me.) While I agree, and I’m not naming names, I have the feeling I’ll pay for this later.

(Side note: GB decided this evening that he’s going to start ending random conversations–mostly with me, of course, is how this always works–by saying, “You’ll pay for this.” This is funny, and it’s hard for me to explain why. It’s funny for the same reason that I thought this was funny: last week, GB owed me money for the gas and electric bills, and it happened that we were both sitting in the living room with our laptops on our laps when I brought this up. I suggested that instead of going all the way into the next room to write me a check, GB should just Paypal it to me. Which, whatever, fine, there are issues there that are not what I’m talking about right now. So he Paypals the money, whatever. So I get an email saying “You have cash!”, and in the memo field on the paypal transaction it says…”let this be a lesson to you.” And see, *that’s* funny. Or maybe it’s not. Maybe I just drink too much.)

Oh, hi last 4 papers, have you graded yourselves yet?

ETA: Okay, I’m mostly done. I have one left that I just don’t know what the hell is up with, and I’ll take that in for micro-managing tomorrow. And also, while I’m not trying to open up an enormous grade-inflation-can-o-worms, does it piss anyone else off (OR IS IT JUST ME?) that these mediocre papers are still guaranteed to get grades in the B-range? Say it with me: A “C” MEANS YOU DID THE WORK. When did this change, so that a “B” becomes the average, “fine, you did the work” grade? What the hell does the grading system even mean, if that is the case? Why am I bothering to spend my entire weekend meting out grades when the grading system, effectively, only goes from C to A? I gave out one C-, and I think I’ll have to explain that–not just to the student, but to the course head and my fellow teaching assistants. Am I just naive and idealistic and bound to be beaten down by the mediocrity-friendly grading systems of The Man? Or do grades mean absolutely nothing at this point? And if that’s the case, why didn’t anyone tell me that while I was still doing coursework?