Bloody Blackboard. I don't remember it being such a pain in the patootie in past semesters; before sabbatical, I thought it was great. Save a tree! Zip through grading electronically! Now it's slow as mole-asses (compared to the asses of hares, or housecats at top speed), and it is taking forever to upload files with comments, grade quizzes, and update various things.
Earlier in the day I was quite happy to set up on the couch with two laptops (the one I work on and the orange furry one who prefers to have his screens closed, and doesn't like being typed on), and read the rest of the grads' papers. They were mostly pretty good. And the good news is that I'm done with that set of grading. There was even a stretch of uploading comment files when Blackboard was fairly speedy. But the couch-with-laptops routine gets old when you've been at it for 6 hours altogether.
The bad news . . . I can't bear to list all the stuff that remains to be done for the undergrads. Let's put it this way: nine different items should be multiplied by 30 to 35 (though some of these are simpler than others, like updating attendance records). Two of the items involve papers; two more involve quizzes, though I've done 8 of the quizzes (so multiply by 25). And Blackboard is not helping me speed through this.
Speaking of housecats at top speed, Basement Cat has been behaving quite well lately. It makes for fewer good BC stories, but for much better feline relations. He and the Grammarian even spent awhile dozing near each other on the couch this afternoon; the Grammarian used to hate BC's guts, while BC just could not leave the Grammarian alone. Oops: BC just came upstairs with the drain strainer from the laundry sink. Perhaps Sir John has a point about keeping him out of the basement. It seems sort of like unusual punishment.
There is other good news this week: I got into the workshop at Famous Library. And I had an abstract accepted for a conference Abroad next spring. The conference paper is supposed to be a section of the New and Improved Book Project. Lots of writing to come . . . if I can just get outside of the grading.