Wednesday, July 2, 2014

More advice from Wicked Walter. He's a giver.

From Rate Your Students, November 17, 2008



"The Regulars," A New Feature At RYS, Designed to Annoy, Begins Today With Who Else!

 
Dear Walt,

We come at you with hat in hand. As you've been a frequent and well-received correspondent at RYS, we wanted to find out if you might be interested in this new proposal we have. We'd like to offer you guaranteed space on RYS once a week for a trial period of 4 weeks, starting with the week of November 17th, and concluding on the week of December 8th. You'd provide absolutely anything you wanted for those four days, and we'd post it with a standard byline (your choice). We'd ask that you write original material about the life of an academic - oh you know what we like. After those 5 weeks we'd be able to see if this new feature (which would likely include 3-4 other correspondents) is catching on with our readers. We know the last few exchanges we've had have been a little tense, but we couldn't imagine doing this feature without you. You always get the most mail, and we'd love to continue our relationship. We are completely blind about this proposal. We don't know if we're stupid, naive, or both, but a couple of longtime readers suggested it to us as we've muddled through a malaise-y couple of months. What do you think?
Our best,
RYS
 
-
 
Dear Fuckers,
You have got to be the crazziest fuckers on the planet. I'm not writing for you assholes ever again. I sent about a dozen things in the past 6 weeks and you barely even acknowledge them. Why on earth would I want to throw in with you when you don't know what you've got.
Eat me,
Walt
 
-
 
Dear Walt,
We are sorry for passing on the last few pieces you've sent, but they were awfully graphic and intense, and we really didn't think they'd go over very well. We do our best to offer a representative sample of the mail that comes in, and your material is just a little too far out there, we think. But we're offering to make amends, and this new feature would be a way for you to have a voice on the website again.
RYS
 
-
 
RYS,
Uh, let me think it over. No, I'd rather eat glass, you fucking bastards. Listen, why don't you get your REALLY favorite correspondents to do it, that Weepy Wayne guy. He's such a bad imitation of me that I can't help but think one of you guys is probably writing him anyway. And anyway, I'm still thinking of starting my own site, something with guns, porn, American flags, and celebrity news 24/7. I'll sell so many ads you will think you stumbled across PerezHilton or TMZ.
Eat me,
Walt
 
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Walt,
Look, we're trying to extend an olive branch here. We always get a ton of mail when we post your stuff, but we've always liked to keep you as a "special guest." Is there anything we can do to convince you to help us out?
RYS
 
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RYS,
Oh yeah, well, first of all, I'd want you to send me some schwag. All that shit you sell I could use a little of. I'm a Large if you're wondering, and I'll take a hoodie and a mug, but not a purse. Can you see me swinging that tote bag around Texas? I'd have to shoot myself.
Walt
 
-
 
Walt,
So you want a free mug and a hoodie?
RYS
 
-
 
RYS,
Yes, and I want to make sure that you don't post anything else on my day. None of those stupid fucking links, or JobFinder or Coolest Students, etc. All of that detracts from the real mission of this place. And no graphics. You guys always cock those up anyway. They're annoying and I liked the site back when it was just text. What kind of bullshit have you guys been feeding us this past year? Hey, how long does it have to be?
Walt
 
-
 
Walt,
So, no graphics, no other posts, just your post, and you want a free mug and a hoodie. I guess we can do that. We'd like a minimum of 500 words, probably topping out at 1000.
RYS
 
-
 
RYS,
1000? Shit I do that in between classes. I want a guarantee for 5000 words. I'm not going to get into this without a guarantee of unlimited space. And I can't do it for this coming week. I'm going to do it on my timetable or not at all.
Walt
 
-
 
Walt,
Well, we're starting the series this week, so there will be 5-6 other people posted this week. Is that okay? Can we expect something from you for the week of the 24th?
RYS
 
-
 
RYS,
No fucking way. You're not going to lead off the series with someone else. You've been blowing smoke up my ass all this time, haven't you?
Walt
 
-
 
Walt,
Listen, we're happy to have you, but we're committed to starting this week.
RYS
 
-
 
RYS,
No go. That next week is Thanksgiving and I've got to take the family down to Houston. Do it without me, but lose my address, too, because you've jerked me around enough.
Walt (retired)
 
-
 
Walt,
We understand. Sorry it didn't work out.
RYS



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Wicked Walter's Wise Words. First in a Series of 30 Presentations.

Some of you may know me by the character I play on RYS, Wicked Walter. Well, that's not really me. In real life I'm a pretty moderate science prof at a large research institution in Texas. We grow everything big here, including our universities. My earlier posts on this website [Editors, please insert links to all of my posts here now.] were mere hyperbole, just a cool prairie cat in the wild howling at the moon. I did it that way because one must get himself heard and recognized before he (or she) can really get his voice out there, to make a difference.

But, the point is, the website moderators came to me (hat in hand, I may add) asking me to be their featured correspondent for the next 4 weeks. Each day I will write a few hundred words on academic topics I think are not being covered properly in the mainstream press. I won't pretend that these are all your concerns, because they probably are not. But I will give myself fully to the experience, and I'll press my many years of experience and service into solving them.

I intend to cover tenure, assessment, student retention, colleague annoyance, stupid-ass junior faculty, better coffee in the cafeteria, library and interlibrary loan, the Deans and how they spend money, and all of the other major areas of interest. I will do this without fear because I have tenure, and in fact RYS has given me a sort of tenure, what with their promise to let me write daily for the next 6 weeks. So, much will be taught and much learned over these next days.

I intend to start slow, with a topic that is clearly one of the most interesting and vexing. How to make the most out of office hours, those otherwise dead hours that we all must keep according to various idiotic faculty manuals. This material is essential for faculty young and old, and has never been covered on this or any other academic blog or website.

I will break my comments down into 4 categories: how to enrich your students' experience, ways in which to personalize your office so it's a home away from home, and what the pecking order of offices all mean to a department.

I will start with the last of these. There are a number of components of office hierarchy. Window, no window. That's pretty clear, right? If you have a window, you're a hot shit. I have a window the size of most stadium-seating movie theaters. If you have no window, I'd recommend getting your vita together because you're not getting tenure, and if you're visiting, you won't be visiting for long. Size of office? Well, again, I can play squash in my office, and I don't even have to move much furniture. If you can touch three walls of your office at one time, you're a BIG FUCKING LOSER. Also, if you're in a multi-story building like me, then your office needs to be high up. I'm on 26, and the only floor above me as some old moldy books from the university before I was born. If you're on the first floor, there's no much hope. If you get an office in some building's basement, then you went to the wrong grad school, girlfriend.

Now, I want to talk about personalizing your office. Your office is a representation of your own peculiar makeup, your personality, your "sense." You owe it to your visitors to let them know what they're getting into. Now, you may be surprised to know that I cover my office door with pictures of kitties. Nah, just kidding. That's just a payoff, a comeback, to show I read the site and have seen all the cat-haters getting their cat-hate on lately. So, forget what I said. You know what people should see when they look at your door? Wood. That's it. Maybe a small piece of paper with your hours and name. Anything else is just jerking off. You morons who think that Dilbert and Cathy cartoons are the way to go, why don't you just knit a little tea cozy for all your students. Nobody gives a shit what cartoons you think are funny. You want your political bullshit up there, too, your union minutes, your Sarah Palin propaganda? Save it for your boring dinner parties with other eggheads like you.

But I do believe in personalizing your office so it's a nice place to hide from the department chairperson, the wife, the kids, the colleagues, etc. I have a fridge, and not one of those tiny mini-fridges. I have a 21 cubic foot Haier, and I wouldn't trade it for a new car. Because I'm in the science building, and because my own research labs are on the same floor, I've been able to hook a water line to it, and I have cube ice and cold water running all day. I keep my various smoked meats and cheeses in the thing, and a few other items which we won't mention. Suffice it to say, during Mardi Gras week, we all hang with Prof. Walt!

I also have personalized my office with some nice soft furniture for catching a few Zzzzs. I just fooled one of the staff flunkies in the warehouse into giving me enough furniture for about 3 junior faculty and had the grad students load it in several years ago. I have as much seating as most small town bus stations, and this shit is nice, because I keep it nice. I have some halogen reading lamps, some artwork, including the requisite crayon and disappointment renderings of my children. I have some spare shirts in a tall teak armoire, some extra boots and shoes and socks and underwear. I figure if everything went south with Mrs. Walt, I could live her pretty much year round.

Finally, how to deal with students. Listen, I like to meet with students. I like to stare into their empty eyes and let them know that they're no longer at the community college down the road. And they're not going to some half-asses university, either. We're the big time. Our football team can beat the crap out of anybody - in fact we about murdered some pale and ineffectual prairie kids yesterday! - and everything we do is big and first rate. My labs are the finest in the nation. My degrees are sturdy and well earned. I have skills so far beyond an academic, and I've turned my back on private industry so many times that they've stopped calling. Can you imagine? I scare the shit out of them.

Back to the students. I wear the lab coat most days, and I'm a little imposing. I stare them down, do you hear me? I stare at them across my gigantic wooden desk and I tell them that a pukey sophomore is not going to ever get a right answer in my class, and they're only going to succeed if they shut their fat faces and let me teach them. And forget the fucking TAs. I have the best on campus, but they're still just a bunch of vegans and alternative lifestyle cretins who think Jeff Tweedy is the height of culture, and that making a million dollars for a biotech company is the be all and end all of an advanced degree.

But an office can be a wonderful place. That's the point.

That's it for today. I have many more items to cover, but since I'll be writing every day this week, let me save it up. You should let the moderators know how much you enjoy hearing my side of things. They've offered to give me a bounty of free items from their collection, and I've asked them to make a Wicked Walter nightshirt that they can put up for sale next week, when most of my posts will focus on how to land a big ass job and keep it without selling out to the motherfucking idiots who always end up in administration.

Wicked Walter from Waxahachie
 

Say it Loud, Say it Proud


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Dear readers,

Walt will NOT be writing every day for several weeks. It's once a week for 5 weeks. We also do not have any Wicked Walter items available, nightshirt or otherwise.

The moderators at RYS


1 comment:

  1. I strongly suspect that Walter's office is larger than my apartment. His office refrigerator is certainly larger than my home one. Then again, I'm not in Texas. Although parts of Texas sound better than Arizona these days.

    ReplyDelete