Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Minor miseries

Dear Stu,

I gave out a handout about assignment 3 back in early March; I gave you a choice of questions about hamster health and a file containing measurements of members of the campus hamster colony from the last five years.  You came to office hours the week before last, and last week, and each time asked what seemed to be pertinent questions about how to structure and organise the report.  The assignment is due tomorrow.  So when you came in today, I expected a question about referencing or similar.  However, you asked: "so we get to measure any hamster we like for this assignment?"  I said "no, use the data I gave you".  You looked shifty and said "it isn't on the VLE though is it" but I was able to show you the folder called "hamster data for assignment 3".  You tried to convince me that you should be allowed to just make up data, because 'the point of the assignment is the analysis, right?'

I'm (not at all) sorry that you now have to pull an all-nighter, but no, I will not change the rubric just for you.  Even if you DO look a bit like a hamster.

Dr G. Academic


Dear Building Maintainance Team,

You may recall that I have filed several request slips about the loose carpet tiles in my office and the wobbly seat fixture on my chair?  I appreciate that you are busy, but am writing to ask again that you address these issues as a matter of urgency, and to report an Incident.

Today, you see, while pulling my chair up to my desk to look something up on my computer, the wheel of the chair caught in the carpet tile, the seat became off-centre and, as it recentred, it trapped a small piece of trouser fabric within the mechanism.  When I stood up later to leave the office, it attempted to remodel one leg of my trousers to short-short length.  The chill weather and my ample behind and unshaven legs all combine to make short-shorts entirely inappropriate, especially unhemmed ones.  With careful application of duct tape and a long-line cardigan, I will manage to make it through my office hours and to the car park without, I hope, serious costumary embarrassment, but I am concerned that this may not be possible on a future occasion should my chair's appetite for fabric increase.

Anticipating a speedy resolution of this issue,

Dr G. Academic


Dear colleagues on either side of my office,

Sure, listening to the radio at work is fine, even without headphones, and I really don't mind hearing it playing quietly in the background.  But when one of you has Station X playing on their radio, and the second listens to the same station via the internet, and there is a lag of about three-quarters of a second on the internet player compared to the direct broadcast, it sounds AWFUL.  Please could you agree a mode of listening which broadcasts in sync?  or get earphones?

Yours, about to rip up the loose carpet tile and start chewing,

Grumps A


  1. No wonder you a "G" Academic! :) I'd be grumpy if this were my reality today, too. You deserve a "Misery of the Week" award!

    Granted, I do have a ceiling panel that keeps falling down when the people upstairs dance their way down the hallway (at least that's what I envision is causing the ceiling panel to fall)

  2. Such worthy rants! I can't stop giggling about your hungry chair.

    Seconded: the "Misery of the Week" award. If there isn't one, there should be. Perhaps with the trophy of an ancient Andean alpaca effigy. (http://lastdaysoftheincas.com/wordpress/discovery-of-sacred-inca-stones-linking-the-heavens-with-earth#.UW3o9TcTTDs and scroll.)