Saturday, April 23, 2011

China Glaze Blue Iguana and Cha Cha Cha (Island Escape, Sumer 2011

I'm leaving soon for my grandfather's funeral in Taipei. It's going to be quite the trip: about 60 hours in Taipei + 30 hours travel time. But what can I do? I want to be there for my mother and grandmother -- even though I have very strained relationships with both -- and I can't miss doing my sections on Wednesday. So... Saturday to Tuesday it is.

Speaking of sections, funny thing happened a few days ago. I noticed that one student had some minty nail polish on and I couldn't resist asking. When I asked, "Oh, what color is that?" I got the response, "uhhh... it's kind of minty."

Oddly enough, this sort of response is pretty typical when you ask people about their nail polish. They describe the color to you (and usually very vaguely -- I was surprised I got "minty" rather than "green"), even though you've got enough eyesight to recognize they're wearing nice polish to begin with.

It was even more odd because I was wearing this:

China Glaze Cha Cha Cha

A somewhat unusual (to the non-obsessed and uninitiated) color that is probably best described as "radioactive". (Three coats, a little more streaky than I would've liked though careful application gets rid of most of that.) With Nail Life Gripper and Poshe, it has lasted me four days without a single chip and barely any tipwear! But it took a very long time to dry for me... but the longevity definitely makes it worth it.

Anyway, back to the minty green polish story: Because I LOVE minty polishes, I just HAD to know what brand that polish was from. (I mean, it could've been from a company I didn't know about! ...which, I realize now, is unlikely.) It looked like such a creamy, smooth mint. So I persisted, even though it was right before section started.

"No, I meant... who makes it?"

"Um. China Glaze? It's called Refreshmint."

And before I could stop myself, I said, "Oh! Wasn't that last year?"

She gave me this surprised look and said, somewhat sheepishly, that yeah, she was "kinda obsessed" with nail polish. And I really wanted to ask, "Nail Board, blogs or both?" But I couldn't, because I had to review z-scores with them. :P

China Glaze Blue Iguana

One more photo for the road. Also from the Island Escape collection: what's really sad about these pics is that there's just the TINIEST bit of purple duochrome lingering around the edges of this pretty sheer (this is three coats) shimmering blue. Also, because this was an NOTD, I can tell you that this one as a bit of stamina too (with Gelous and Diamont): I think I got about six days wear out of it -- and it was still going strong on day six but I was BORED OUT OF MY MIND of this color.

(Before I forget: thanks to those at China Glaze for sending me these polishes to review.)

TA'ing stats has become a bit of a disaster. It is TA hell. Stats is inherently difficult to teach well -- psych majors usually freak out when it comes to stats -- and I'm completely sucking at the moment. But the actual teaching part isn't what's painful: it's how disorganized everything is.

I pretty much redid the syllabus when I realized sections weren't going to match up to classes; it took about six hours. The homework assignments are generated by the prof but are missing answer keys so the TAs take turns doing the homework...because we don't have enough to do grading 45 of those things 1-2 times a week! (Last week, those poor kids -- and we poor TAs -- had to calculate the standard deviation of a set of 50 scores by hand. 50!) The textbook company sent us one text to share between five people and promised they'd send more but it's halfway through the quarter and we're still passing the one lonely text around. The prof has a bunch of conferences and is gone for pretty much one quarter of the classes, so he leaves it up to the TAs to lecture to the students (and to plan the worksheets in his absence). In the span of nine weeks, there are three exams, five pop quizzes, nine homework assignments and nine section worksheets; we grade all of them except for the worksheets.

The amount of time punching in numbers to Excel alone... the amount of time spent on email alone...! The other two TAs (there are three for the 135 students) and I are constantly going back and forth, debating how to grade assignments, figuring out who has the textbook, who has the exams, who has this, what exactly does the prof want us to do, and what the hell are we doing, etc.

So when the student who regularly either beatboxes or sleeps during sections stumbles in late to a section, slumps in his chair, and interrupts me to ask, "Uh, why is it taking so long to get our exams back? Like, how hard is it to grade Scantrons?!" -- because, you know, I didn't already answer the same question three times before he decided to grace us with his presence -- it can be so hard to respond in a polite, measured fashion.

And now I'm flying off to Taipei and will have no time to prepare for next week's section before the day of the section. Let's hope I'm not too jetlagged for that.