Reflections from the winter shutdown

Oberlin in Snow

Foto Credit: lizawithaz on Flickr

Winter is upon us, as was my college’s requisite “Winter Shutdown,” where we all go home and hibernate between terms. Apparently the college does this to save on energy costs because by not having people in the buildings there is no need to heat the buildings. Regardless of why they say we do it, its a lovely benefit to be paid to stay home in one’s jammies with a cup of tea and loved ones.

This week, alas, the Shutdown ended and we slowly crawled back to work. (Well, trudged, actually…we got a blizzard to start the year off right)

For what it is worth, here are some discoveries I made during my mini hibernation on my couch. Feel free to comment.

1) Netflix streaming on demand is just wonderful: Last year we either were not paying attention or it wasn’t available but oh my is it great. It was just the ticket to keep my husband contented after he ripped through “The Shield” DVDs and had to wait (what seemed like an eternity) for the next round to arrive in the mail. I watched a bunch of films that I am going to use in class next semester this way and was grateful for the convenience.

2) I love my local internet provider but enough is enough: We moved over to the dark side and are now using Verizon DSL at home. It’s less expensive and seems faster than the cable hookup. Time will tell as we battle for the internets in our house, but for the moment it is great (the set up? much less so… ugh that was awful… but now that we are here? great)

3) Adios land line: The next plan is to get rid of the land line (And just use the phone jacks for DSL). The Verizon people don’t quite know what to do with me on this one. It’s not one of their “packages” so its confuzing to them. Nevertheless, I shall persevere. Goodbye telemarketers, and goodbye phone banks who call every time there is even the mere mention of an election in our state.

4) Bienvenido Googlevoice: I have a cellphone, I have a skype number, I have an office phone, and now I have Google voice. Google voice (and its less than perfect transcription tool) can send me emails of the voicemail messages I receive to my email account. Don’t try this in a language other than English and be grateful that you can replay the message via your Gmail account because it does take some liberties with people’s words. I’m being kind when I say that. I haven’t quite figured out if there are any pedagogical applications for this but we are going to add a Google voice phone number for LLU here soon… feel free to call and leave a comment, a suggestion, via voice.

5) Google Wave: yes I have it…now what?

6) 1Password has changed (and saved) my life. I wish it could change my husband’s life as well, but alas it is mac only.

7) Our eldest son is applying to college (and other out of body experiences) Seriously, this has been one of the strangest existential experiences yet: working at a liberal arts college while your child visits and investigates liberal arts colleges…including the one where you went to school and the one where you work. To be a recipient of all of the glossy viewbooks and then to be a part of the publicity machine that makes those images for the college where you work. To watch how the 17 year old mind works and how little those view books really matter. To realize along with him: they all have First Year Seminar programs, they all have shiny new science buildings, they all have fabulous extra-curriculars, they all have lovely grounds, they all are extremely welcoming and hospitable.

At one point my son threw up his hands and said in an exasperated tone: “I can’t tell the difference between these places anymore.” Sigh. So true, so true.

Where is the Sam Jackson College Experience when we need him?

It’s snowing again. Time to find my jammies. And a cup of tea.

Barbara is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at a small liberal arts college in Maine. Rumor has it this was also her alma mater. She used to work for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for almost 20 years as a teacher and language center director. Prior to these adventures in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and making stuff out of clay. To see her online portfolio please click here!

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  1. Laura · January 11, 2010 Reply

    I’ve been considering ditching the landline myself. For now, we have the triple play Comcast deal because the guy I got on the phone was willing to wheel and deal. Once the price goes up again, we may consider switching. And I’ve heard, via Consumer Reports, that some places will do a cell, land, tv, internet deal. Verizon is one, AT&T is one, but they’re not available everywhere.

    And good luck on the college search. I do not envy you, though I’ll be there in just 3 years. Yikes!

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