General Update


  • I am almost completely caught up on my grading. (The only things I haven’t graded are the reaction papers I was handed last night. I do, however, also need to tabulate participation scores for student discussions — their peers have ranked them; I think I can get a trust office assistant to do most of the data entry, though, which is nice.)”I am almost completely caught up on my grading” doesn’t sound impressive, I know, but usually at this point in the semester, I have a couple of huge piles to get through. I got a bunch done on the plane back from St. Louis, and some more some this past Thursday and Friday. Students will be receiving back a lot of work today and tomorrow.
  • I went to St. Louis, came back, and am now thinking about revisions I need to make to my paper to make it publishable. I also learned that when literary academics say “posthuman” they don’t mean what SF people mean when they use the word. I suspect “posthumanism” means, for them, “what comes after [secular] humanism” in the same way “post-modern” means “what comes after modernism”. It was a bit muddled for me until I realized this–and though I pointed it out, I’m not sure they knew what I was going on about when I said that word. Anyway, I got some positive feedback about my paper and I think might stand a chance at one of the SF journals.
  • After the conference came a welter of events: a public speaking contest, the judging and ranking process (for winners), and a department variety night, all in the space of a week or so. It was pretty intense, but somehow I held it together, only coming down with a cold for one day.


  • I haven’t gotten as much writing time as I’d like: freelance stuff, my paper, and other distractions (see Homebrew, below) have gotten in the way. That said, I have gotten some good news on this front. Aside from the work (title TBA) which will appear in the Shine Anthology this spring, I also will have a story titled “The Bodhisattvas” appearing in Subterranean Magazine in April 2010. The Korean translation of that story will be appearing in an anthology (I don’t know the title yet) published by Omelas this month. When I have more info on that, I’ll post it.
  • I’m waiting to hear back about a few stories, and I also have a few I should mail out in the next day or three. It’s been a while since I’ve sent anything out — bad Gord! — but I am not feeling a particular frantic rush about it for the moment — two weeks until exams begin and most of my work will be done then, and I can make time for printing out work and sending it out then!
  • A freelance project is now growling at me from the corner. No more blogging till that’s done. Well, except to finish this post.


  • I’ve been a busy brewer this month. I have an IPA and a Wheat beer in the bottle, conditioning, and I’m relatively happy with both. The IPA is UK-style, meaning lower in alcohol and higher in flavor (maybe dry-hopping it helped?), while the wheat beer is pretty cloudy and not too bubbly, but tastes very nice, and is somewhat strong.
  • In the carboy, I have a coffee stout that tastes very coffee-like (I steeped about 350 or 400 grams of coffee grounds in the wort for a while after boiling it). It’s behaving a little weirdly, and I’m not sure why: it stopped fermenting for I don’t know what reason, so I racked it to secondary and pitched some yeast which I had started with a little sugar (not much); but then fermentation kicked in again, so I left it for a while. When that seemed to slow down significantly, so I dry-hopped it — but I put too many strong hop pellets in, and I noticed a lot of gloppy trub (ie. dead yeast and other solids at the bottom of the carboy) so I decided to separate it one more time, racking the wort to a second carboy for a little more clearing before bottling. That was last night, and what do you know but it’s fermenting actively again. I know I put a fair amount of dried malt extract into the wort, but I’m sure I didn’t put so much that it should be fermenting off-and-on actively for 2+ weeks. Maybe the coffee grounds that got through the grain bag are interfering with fermentation? I’m not sure. Tastes great, good alcohol level as far as I can tell, but it’s behaving weirdly. Ah well, I’ll bottle it when it’s calmed down, and till then, enjoy the show.
  • Finally, in the fermentation bucket, I have a batch of what was supposed to be pumpkin ale. I posted about that the other day. Well, when I ended up falling asleep before I intended to, and left the bucket on my kitchen floor, which is the hottest spot in my whole house. When I woke, bubbles were constantly coming up through the filter, which was a relief, but I also decided it might be nice to left the yeast work a little less vigorously, so I moved the bucket to my kitchen table, which is still warm but not hot. Fermentation slowed, but did not stop until the end of the day. Now, it’s been there a full day with very little activity, but I’m going follow the advice I got and let it sit for a while before I do anything. A day or two of specific gravity checks should tell me whether anything is happening in there.

And now, I need to get ready for class!

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