December 14, 2005

Heavy snow.

Yesterday, I complained about the early darkness, and, in the comments, chuck b said:
And I don't like winter darkness either. This year I decided to do something about it; I'm getting up at 5:30 a.m. so I can leave work around 3 p.m. and still get a couple hours of evening light at home. Strangely, this schedule seems to make the workday go by faster too.
I think the "chuck b strategy" is a good one, and, in fact, today I was up at 4:30, getting the day started early so that nightfall would seem to come at the right distance from waking. Look how I put up 5 posts by 7:08 a.m.

But you might wonder, where has Althouse been all day? There haven't been any posts since 7:08! Believe me, I'm very busy this time of year. Classes are over, but a lot of things fall due around now. High on the list is writing my 2 exams, which the students will take over the weekend. You law students might think that we old lawprofs just dash these things off in an hour, but, in fact, it takes some doing.

When I got home from school today, driving in heavy snow, I sat down to pay a lot of bills and write some Christmas cards. Then I got back in the car, which was kind of crazy, because I wanted to mail these things. Absurdly, I took the backroads route to the post office, which was twisty and hilly and totally unplowed. In the middle of it, I had to stop and think, why did I come this way? But I'm back and inclined to let the world know that the Audi TT Coupe is rock solid in terrible snowy conditions, rock solid. By far, the best car I've ever driven in snow.


Simon said...

Out of curiosity, would you be willing and/or able (faculty rules) to post the exam questions here (obviously AFTER the exam has been administered, marked, and papers returned)? It'd be interesting to see what sort of questions are on the paper.

dearieme said...

They have a nice habit at Oxford: the youngsters take an exam at the start of the new Academic Term, so that the exam covers the previous term's work AND vacation reading.

SteveR said...

I work a 9/80 schedule with a 30 minute commute so this time of year its dark on both ends of the day. Its nice having every other Friday off. Makes me look forward to Spring, as the hymn says,

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Meade said...

"By far, the best car I've ever driven in snow."

Good, then our advice was sound.

erp said...

Ann, set up internet banking and you'll never have to pay bills again. It's very liberating.

Ann Althouse said...

Erp: I hate writing checks, but somehow I feel that internet banking would cause my money to slip away too easily. Anyway, I'd have still gone out to mail my cards.

SWBarns said...

Your students take exams over the weekend? I'm no expert but I think this violates the Geneva Convention. When I was in law school, our property professor allowed us to pick up exams at 8AM and return them at 8PM. She thought that this relieved the stress of exams and let her students write for 2 hours at their leisure. What it really caused was a 12-hour fury of legal research, writing and proofing. I would rather spend 2 hours with a bluebook than 12 hours of ‘leisure.’ Well, at least I didn’t have a 48-hour Federal Jurisdiction marathon.

Ann Althouse said...

SWBarnes: Not only do the students take exams on the weekend, but my "Religion and the Constitution" exam is on a Sunday! We're big on irony here.

erp said...

Not all. You see where your money is going instantly. Click on your account at the bank and every transaction is there in front of your eyes. No more waiting for bank statements and doing reconciliations. No more check register to keep and no more potential for miscalculations.

No more running out of stamps or wondering if the stamps you have are still good or if postage went up. Credit cards? Order something online and see your charges appear almost instantly. Debit card at the grocery store, it'll be online before you get home.

Bills arrive by email -- no more bills in your snail-mailbox. No more annoying promotions and ads with your bills.

You can tell your bank to write E-Checks or make E-Payments for the regular monthlies and instruct them to write checks and send them out for incidental bills. You'll never have to write another check if don't want to.

You can't imagine how cool it is. I'm now setting up my credit cards to be downloaded into Quicken. I don't particularly like Quicken, so from there I will transfer to Excel and account for literally every nickel I spend.

My husband is a retired CPA and I had a hard time convincing him, but I was taking care of my elderly mother's affairs online and he saw how easy it is. Now he's a born-again (into the 21st century) accountant and thrown away his green eye-shade.

onelmom said...

I don't know, Ann. I just took my first law school exam last night and I'm guessing that it took the professor 30 minutes to write, tops.

It was Torts, and the main question was a rip-off of an accident that actually happened here in town this summer. In my professor's defense, it was a perfect fact pattern.

What a crazy experience, the law school exam. I think it might have been the fastest three hours of my life. But it was so fun. Glad I waited until "later" in life to do this. At 22, I would have imploded from anxiety.

I echo the sentiments of swbarns- take home exams are the worst. Bluebookitis (that painful condition of the hand) is a close second, though. Hooray for ExamSoft!

Now back to contracts, I go... there's another three hours of fun waiting for me on Monday.

Ann Althouse said...

onelmom: "a rip-off of an accident that actually happened here in town this summer."

Even when you take your fact patterns from real life, it's a lot of work to craft it in a form that contains the issues you need the students to discuss and doesn't present problems. I've often taken my fact patterns from news stories (or actual cases), but it's still quite hard to work them up into the form of the exam. Really!

Ann Althouse said...

Good luck on your contracts exam.

SWBarns said...

Ann: You want to talk irony; I learned Property Law from a socialist who opposed private ownership of land. We spent a year learning how to justify takings without compensation.

She did teach me everything I have ever needed to know about the rule against perpetuities “The Bar Exam will include two questions on the rule against perpetuities. You will get them both wrong.”

onelmom said...

I had to put myself on an Althouse punishment after too many study "breaks," but I've been meaning to come back here and say that I regret my choice of the word ripoff, because it implies lack of understanding of a professor's workload. Which is so not the impression I wanted to make with my first post here!

Really, I thought it was a great question. That he took a relevant real-life example and doctored it up a bit to make it just outrageous enough. (He's a real character.) Heck, even if it only took him 10 minutes to write the thing, the poor man still has to read 40 "answers." Yikes!

But even worse than looking like a jerky, unappreciative student...

I met someone today who took the course with my prof 7 years ago. And she took the exact same exam. Is it really that easy to project one's own thoughts onto a fact pattern? And to think that I've been snickering at "the people who make assumptions" all semester.


p.s. When does the thinking of things-that-I-should-have-written-in-my-exams stop? It's just not socially acceptable to smack one's forehead and exclaim "equitable indemnification!" while standing in line for coffee.