Thursday, November 29, 2007

Accepted with editing

Blogger is cooperating this evening so I have time for one more quick post. I received notice this afternoon that my second article has also been accepted for publication; accepted pending revisions. I am really excited about the prospect, especially because the journal is peer reviewed and international. I now have ten days to make the required revisions and re-submit to the journal editor. The assistant editor will follow-up with the required forms before publication actually happens.

I did not have the nerve to say I had saved the paperwork from the previously accepted article last month and could easily edit them to work. I am not quite sure they remember I was invited to submit two articles. I will be working on revisions during the busiest week of the semester - and in between making fudge all weekend.

I'm having an article published in an international professional library journal.

It soooooooo works for me.

Click, clack

With apologies to Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin, I was tempted to finish this post's title with "moo," especially when I could have begun the post with "cows that type." I managed to restrain myself somewhat (Click, Clack, Moo). The clicking, and clacking, mentioned refer to the desperation gripping students in the library this week. Next Friday is the last day of classes for the fall 2007 term and it is crunch time. Every computer inside and outside of the resource center was in use today (after 10:00 am, naturally). It is eerily quiet. Instead of happy and consistent chatter, the only sound that carries is the sound of frantic typing on computer keyboards.

Have you ever noticed how annoying, almost disquieting, that persistent sound can be? It is almost easier to work in noise than quiet clacking.

Due to the course we facilitate, the next eight days are arguably the busiest in the resource center. All but two of my student workers have experience with this phenomenon, so they are rather blase about the prospect of panicked freshman. Out of the one hundred fifty students taking the online lab course, as of this afternoon approximately one third of them had finished. Many are in various stages of completion and some, there are always some, have yet to begin. This makes for an interesting time for the GA's and my student workers. We will all survive with a healthy dose of patience and a sense of humor. Plus, next week is the library open house - there will be refreshments - and I will be making fudge for the student workers. Chocolate and cookies, that oft mentioned sugar rush not withstanding, make the week go by more pleasantly.

I already have three meetings planned for after the last day of classes. One with the library director to plot our strategy regarding the use of the university template on the new library web page. That process has stalled somewhat and I am hoping the subsequent meeting with the university web team will move the decision making process forward. I can not start until I know if we are designing our own or working within the university template parameters. The third meeting is the previously scheduled faculty learning community session; it features powerpoint and I do not have to present.

Now, if I could only decide what kind of cookies to take to the open house ...

Guilty TV pleasure

Now that Dancing with the Stars is over, my guilty television pleasure is, Project Runway on Bravo. I admit when the first run episodes are on Wednesday evenings I generally fall asleep before the runway show and elimination. Luckily, Bravo shows the episodes two or three times during the week and I get the opportunity to see what I missed. Tonight, for instance, last nights episode repeated 8:00 pm and I got to see Tiki Barber judge the runway show (and laughed out loud when he mentioned not liking a contestants project because everyone would be looking at his butt).

This episode was the first time I have seen male models and a menswear design challenge. It was a unique twist and really caused quite a bit of angst among the contestants. Some of the designs were, to my plebeian taste, quite horrible; a serious case of what were they thinking. Through the whole thing Tim Gunn (now at Liz Claiborne!) remains, providing a constant touch of class.

We are well into another season of "making it work!"

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The last dance

Woo-hooo, Helio and Julianne! My votes count after all. I admit to being one of the millions who voted via phone and online for my favorites in the finale. I voted every week throughout the season and was glad to see Helio and Mel B (she really started to grow on me, great personality and serious dance talent) in the final two. I enjoyed Marie, but her performance was not as polished. I especially liked Helio because he had little or no previous dance experience. It didn't take long for the dust to settle and rumors and comments to start. Here's some of what I found this evening:

No, I am not going to burst out in song ala Donna Summer(Let's dance, the last dance, tonight!), but now that Dancing with the Stars is done for another season I will have to find something else to watch on Monday night.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blog Holiday: Thanksgiving

As mentioned in the previous post, tomorrow is the start of my Thanksgiving holiday break. Time to travel over the river and through the woods to see family and friends, cook and eat a traditional Thanksgiving feast, and begin the holiday shopping season. I have already begun to choose my shopping and cooking wardrobe for these events and it will include comfortable walking shoes, washable fabrics, and at least one outfit with an elastic waistband.

I have a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving season. This upcoming week marks a somewhat ominous anniversary for my family; the day after Thanksgiving last year my mother was hospitalized, the beginning of an eight month ordeal and journey of faith. After several life-saving procedures and surgeries, stays in six different hospitals, and months physical and occupational therapy, she is back home eager to partake of the upcoming holiday season. I have orders to make the chocolate pie everyone raved about last year; she wants her share! Don't get me started on the holiday fudge she missed ...

So on a lighter note,here are the results of yet one more blogthings quiz:

You Are 87% Thankful

You're an incredibly thankful person, and everyone around you feels very appreciated.

You inspire people to be more optimistic, forgiving, and grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving break musings

Thanksgiving break begins, technically speaking, after the last night class this evening. With that in mind I was prepared to stave off the onset of boredom while covering the resource center sans students and student workers today. I had a new Booklist magazine to begin selecting juvenile books, notes from the conference I attended at the end of last month to transcribe into Word, and several interesting little projects, such as updating the juvenile blog bulletin board, in place. Oddly enough it was busy throughout the day, enough so that I was left to voice the query; whatever happened to the age old tradition of skipping class and going home early the day before break?

I am ready to go home, even though the beginning of my day tomorrow will be sloughing my way through traffic on the turnpike into Pennsylvania. I made brownies last night and that will help tremendously. But, as usual, I digress.

Students who were in the library were working, not busy work or playing on the Internet, actual school related work and tasks. They laminated (menu's and assorted education projects), they looked for journal articles in databases, they printed lesson plans (did they ever print), they gleefully cut out letters using the Ellison Machine, and they searched the catalog for juvenile books and videos. I actually had two students complete their course portfolio work! It was all very exciting.

Now, however, things are eerily quiet as the last of them trundle off to their night classes. A few quiet souls remain, most of them international students, and the library will be a lonely place this evening for my student worker (I offered to close at six and give her the evening off ... she declined the offer), the reference librarian on duty, and a circulation student or staff member. All of which are now dreading the next five hours until closing time. It is always tempting to close early, but the one time that decision is made someone comes to the library five minutes before the previously scheduled closing, is in desparate need of something, and is cranky the place is closed. Last minute holiday shoppers.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Good as Lily

As Good As Lily, by Derek Kirk Kim and Jesse Hamm opens; Grace Kwon is celebrating her 18th birthday at the park with friends. Reflecting on what she has accomplished thus far in her life and enjoying the day complete with presents and teasing, Grace decides to treat her friends to an ice cream cone from a park vendor. After waiting her turn, the elderly woman tells Grace she is out of ice cream; "But hey, what's a birthday party without a piñata?" The teens enjoy themselves trying to break the piñata, only to have Grace suffer the ultimate indignity of having it land ignominiously on her head, resulting in a brief blackout.

At this point, all of the characters are in place for a nice coming of age story featuring a bright young girl who has been accepted to Stanford University, has a part in the school play, a crush on her drama teacher, and is working feverishly with her friends to save the spring play from school budget cuts with various fund raisers. Additionally, Grace is oblivious to a boy with a crush on her, has an encounter with a school bully, and learns to swim. What makes this novel different is the intriguing story line twist the evening following Grace's party, and piñata incident.

Grace realizes she has forgotten a special birthday gift at the park and goes back hoping to find it. While in the park she encounters a scared lost toddler, and with the help of the elderly ice cream vendor, helps save a thirty-year-old woman (she's 29!). As the unlikely group traverses their way through the park, the bickering is escalates and at her wits end, Grace yells for quiet. The startled compliance begs Grace take a closer look at her companions, "Wait, you look awfully familiar .... What .... what's your name?" Each one answers the same, Grace Kwon. Now, Grace must not only explain "herselves" to her friends, but she must learn find a way to return herself home.

This graphic novel has clean black and white illustrations, with distinguishing shades of gray highlighting mood and atmosphere. Panel sizes vary within the pages of story, character close-ups are wonderfully depicted, and there is a nice multicultural character presentatio throughout. Pay close attention to the lessons learned by Grace at each age; the title of the book becomes clear when 18 year-old Grace talks to her parents. A very entertaining read.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hypothetically, not a genius

My bloglines account ultimately led me to this fun little blog toy, The Blog Readability Test. Yes, by simply submitting my blog URL it is possible to find out "what level of education is required to understand your blog." Obviously made for curious souls such as my self (re: those willing to play with the goofy blog toy); hey, I check out my Pirate name courtesy of Blogthings on Talk like a pirate day, I was game for the test. Not including this particularly intellectually stellar post, my blog readability appears to be:

I am not sure how long this lovely readability image will remain, there was a cheesy advertisement link attached to the end of the image URL and I removed it before posting. I checked another blog I write, the collaborative library project, and learned it has a genius rating. Obviously the other contributors are taking up the slack for my college level writing skills (at least it was post grad). Thank heavens for smart peers and collaborative partners.

Anyway, thanks to Walt at Randomfor his post about Readability.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Graphic novels, bulletin boards, & tyrants

Compiling the graphic novel information yesterday, it occurred to me that it had been some time since I updated three book review bulletin boards in the resource center; two of which support graphic novels in the juvenile and regular library circulating collection, and the third supports young adult titles. Each graphic novel board highlights eight new books by presenting details on cover art, book title, call number and location, and a book review with accompanying citation information. They are easily updated displays that give students something to read while looking for materials kits, waiting for the computers to login, and when they are gazing about daydreaming. While compiling the updates (color print, laminate, display) I found something to read, Tiny Tyrant, by Lewis Trondheim and Fabrice Parme.

The cover art caught my eye featuring King Ethelbert himself standing on top of the world, scepter in hand and crown perched on the back of his head, surrounded by his loyal subjects. If that was not enough, the back cover features a wonderful tagline: "What if the most powerful person in your nation was a spoiled brat?"

Tiny Tyrant is a collection of twelve short stories featuring King Ethelbert, his prime minister, loyal staff, and other wonderful assorted characters. Each individual vignette reveals another charming side of the lovely little despot and readers will laugh out loud at his trials, tribulations, and contrariness. In "The Magic of Christmas," Ethelbert is spreading his own brand of cheer demanding only desserts served for his holiday meal. When the palace chef refuses, stating even Santa eats a balanced meal, the Kind determines to visit the North Pole and ask the jolly old elf himself. During the nine hour plane ride to "the north pole," Ethelbert is bored wondering what he is supposed to do.

"We have several novels, plays, philosophical treatises, and autobiographies on board if you wish."

"Whoa, whoa. Next you'll be recommending I read a book." p. 38.

Resplendent in full color, the novel is presented in comic panel format without traditional panel demarcation. Readers are able to follow along easily, characters have different color text balloon, while readily enjoying the many nuances within each panel details. This book has a lot to offer for kids and kids at heart.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Collections: Graphic novels

Today's collection question? What good graphic novels have I read lately that would be appropriate for grades 7 - 9, have both a compelling storyline and great graphical elements, and are readable? I must admit both embracing and dreading questions of this nature from faculty members. It is wonderful to be able to recommend great new books for classroom use, especially ones that will fulfill the curriculum needs. However, it is inherently stressful as I am apt to ponder -- what if a book I like and recommend is a dud for them? I have learned to utilize the never-fail reference interview option via phone and find out their concept of "great new book" and proceed.

The resource center collection development blog served it's purpose during the conversation; I was able to direct the faculty member to the blog, point out the graphic novel labels (it has 48 posts), and mention each post linked directly to the catalog. Finding one book he liked would lead to others as the cataloger created a "graphic novel" subject heading when I first began with this collection. Since then, a genre category of graphic novels has been officially established, but knowing it was possible to locate all the graphic novel (91) entries is useful to all concerned.

And, because when you give me an opening of this nature I tend to run with it, I also found issues of School Library Journal where graphic novels are reviewed (by grade level!) and a Booklist issue featuring graphic novels, and made copies to give to this faculty member. I am hoping to get his input on purchasing additional items and subtly remind him to come to me with book suggestions.

Unfortunately, Booklist does not have a great deal of free information on their website, but the March 15th issue, volume 103 number 14, highlights graphic novels.

A secondary inquiry during this conversation, more important from a resource center and/or library as a place standpoint, was a request to use resource center for class time. A definite - yes - to that question. I do not have a classroom space for faculty to use when they want to do instruction here, but there are groupings of tables I am able to reserve (lovely tent signs, laminated and ready to go) the area for use. This is a great opportunity to get the students IN THE LIBRARY. Two sessions are planned for tomorrow, I am looking forward to discussing the books with this professor.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Resumes & CV's, what to do?

Today in my inbox was an e-newsletter from eWeek; I really should put it on my bloglines account and get rid of one more e-newsletter, but as usual, I digress. What was the headline topic of today's careers eWeek newsletter? Resumes. Yes, resumes. Is it karma, is it fate, is it coincidence? (Does it matter?) I found it interesting after posting about possibilities of a career move, and wondering if I should send a resume (their request) or my somewhat lengthy vitae (did I mention they requested a resume?) to the institution in question.

Whither the Resume?, by Deb Perelman, poses the following:

"The paper resume went the way of the caveman nearly a decade ago. Web 1.0 recruiting technologies, such as big job boards and vendor-powered ATS, ATS (application tracking systems) on corporate career sites effectively killed the need for a paper resume on 24-pound ivory stationary stock."

I am not sure I completely agree with her premise, but there is no doubt how potential job candidates send resumes to employers has changed in the last several years. Submitting documents via email, resumes being scanned, applications accepted - even preferred - via web site forms, are in some cases the norm. But a resume continues to be a viable way for employees to highlight their qualifications for job openings. It is not, however, the only way. I think job seekers, especially librarians, need to have particular skills sets that include a basic understanding of "web 2.0" technologies. This should at the very least include a simple CV on their personal university/library web page and an electronic portfolio.

The blog article generated a number of reader comments, one that doubled between the time I first read the post before lunch and two hours later when I checked the link for this post. Check out the comments, they are as interesting as the concept put forth by the author. I did a couple of quick Googles and found sites with information pertaining to CV's and resumes. I was curious regarding the thought and definitions behind both documents, as well as what might be preferred.
I also found an interesting article in Chronicle Careers, From CV to Resume, by Kim Thompson and Terren Ilana Wein:

"While both documents represent you as a professional, they differ on many counts. A résumé is designed to sell your relevant skill set and experiences to a particular employer. The goal of a CV is to present a complete picture of the breadth and depth of academic experiences you have accumulated."

I am far from convinced resumes are passe, especially in academics and academic librarianship. It will behoove a job seeker to provide the required information and include links for additional resources. For example, a resume if requested, and inclusion of web links to a CV in the cover letter and supporting documentation. What would not be in my, or any job seeker's, best interest would to ignore what is required/requested.

Monday, November 12, 2007

My bloglines account ...

A check of my Bloglines account just now noted a modest number of blogs updated since lunch, 12 of them, and an astounding number of feeds ... get this ... 1406! Half of them, give or take since math never was my strong suit, indicated 200 post updates.

I don't think so. Guess there is glitch somewhere.

Quick update: Checking back after posting this the bloglines "plumber" left a message saying there was something wrong with the pipes.

photograph c.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thirteen Reasons Why

Another offering from the rapidly expanding number of first books by new authors that I have added to the library collection this term is Thirteen Reasons Why, byJay Asher. Clay Jensen arives home from school one afternoon and finds a box addressed to him, a box that contains thirteen cassette tapes. After locating an old stereo capable of playing this audio format, he learns it is, essentially, the story of a class mates life. Only, this school mate has recently committed suicide.

"I hope you're ready, because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you're listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why." (p.6)

Compelled by a lingering sense of guilt, he liked Hannah and was hesitant to approach her with more than friendship because of her reputation and popularity, Clay begins listening to Hannah's last days and learns more than he bargained for; secrets, lies, cruelty, and rumors led to the ultimate decision regarding life and death. This is a thoughtful and compelling work that intersperces Hannah's increasingly despairing voice with that of Clay's questioning and guilt, providing readers a glimpse into each teens perception and understanding of the truth. The teen voice in this novel rings true and makes it all the more gripping.

I would have liked more links to suidide hotlines and information at the end of the book and accompanying web site, Thirteen Reasons Why. The web site has an interactive map that accompanies the book and a message and podcast interview with the author.

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Random hypothetical musings

I was able to watch the Steelers football game this afternoon with a choice of channels since two local CBS stations were carrying the game. As is my habit, I napped through the third quarter and awoke to see the second kick-off returned for a field goal.

Nice job on special teams today coach ... but I digress (sigh).

While watching the game I had reason to consider how much I miss seeing my favorite sport teams on television and began to ponder a job opening I recently read for an opening near my hometown and closer to family. Naturally, sports teams are not reason to make a significant career change; but I made a promise to myself several years ago never to send in a resume for a job on a whim (bad, bad, idea) and now am at the point where I am deciding if this is a good time for a change

Nine days out of ten I like my job. I would guess that is the case for most people. I am challenged by the work, enjoy the environment, earned the respect of my peers, and have had opportunity to grow professionally with state and national presentations, several published articles, the chance to sit on a state level organization board and work on conference planning with the same. Additionally, I am an adjunct instructor with our college of education and enjoy working with pre-service teachers both in the library and when asked to provide instruction in the classroom. On the other hand, I am not in a tenured position, there is no promotion, I do not have an opportunity to so significant research, and am often stretched so very far beyond my actual librarian job description (those challenging "duties as named later") it has become difficult to continue keeping all the balls in the air. While the grass is always greener, I do wonder if it is time for a change.

The deadline for applications is several weeks away, so I will give the idea more thought and determine what is best for me. I owe it to myself, as well as the job I have and the one I am considering, to consider the application with much thought and proceed for the right reasons

Right now, I am missing the end of Desperate Housewives and the chance to see the local ten o'clock news where there will be much made of the Steeler's win (insert sarcasm here).

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What I'm reading ... really

I have always had an interest in the Civil War era and the history surrounding the assassination of President Lincoln. To this day I remember the chills from visiting Ford's Theater first with family, and secondly with a seventh grade field trip. One of my favorite Gore Vidal books is Lincoln. So, it should come as no surprise that a Booklist review of Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated with Our Greatest President, by Edward Steers, Jr. caught my attention ... and a bit of my general library money as well. Here's the review in question:

"Much that has been written about Lincoln, claims Steers, is mythmaking. It began early, at the Republican State Convention in May 1860. For 20 years, Steers has worked to correct the legend and tell the truth about the conspiracy that ended Lincoln's life and the complicity of the doctor who treated the president's murderer after the assassination. The myths include Lincoln's alleged romance with Ann Rutledge, rumors about his illegitimacy, his born-again Christian conversion and baptism, and his appearance before a congressional committee to defend his controversial wife. Chapters deal with such subjects as his birthplace cabin; his father; his speeches and writings; the myth that he was gay; missing pages from John Wilkes Booth's diary; and the identity of Peanut John Burroughs, the man who held Booth's horse. Steers, author of Blood on the Moon, has written a prodigiously researched history of a provocative subject." - (Cohen, G. (2007). Lincoln legends: Myths, hoaxes, and confabulations associated with our greatest president, Booklist, 104(1), 43.)

I started taking this book to lunch with me on Monday afternoon and since then have read several chapters. So far I have read about Lincoln's birthplace (been there, done that, did not realize as a child it was not particularly authentic), his romance with Ann Rutledge, and an interesting section regarding a hoax perpetuated on Atlantic Monthly regarding love letters. There are many well place photographs, some part of the author's own collection and other from the Library of Congress and other special library collections. Though not part of the research per say, they are welcome visuals within the text. I find images from this time period oddly compelling and spooky (yes, spooky). All in all, I am finding this a very readable accounting of research done my Mr. Steers.

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It's there, praise be

Confirmation came yesterday via email; my article submission did indeed arrive at its destination. The assistant editor, a very pleasant and helpful email correspondent, assured me she was passing it to the editor who would in turn be in touch as needed.

At this point, just knowing it arrived and will be considered is good enough for me. It will be upwards of six weeks until I hear anything. Luckily we are drawing near to Thanksgiving break and the end of this fall 2007 term, read the last day of classes, is one month from tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

And now, JAK News!

The latest edition of the JAK newsletter arrived in my inbox prior to lunch and it included the news an Arcane Society novel featuring more of those Jones men, Sizzle and Burn, is due out in January (Amazon says 1/15/08 ).

More from the Jayne Ann Krentz site:

More about Sizzle and Burn:

"When Raine Tallentyre made the mistake of revealing her paranormal abilities, her most recent romantic relationship came to a hasty end. Her Aunt Vella, a gifted but troubled soul, had told her years ago to keep her talents a secret. And now that poor Aunt Vella—her last blood relative—has died, Raine has resigned herself to a lonely life.

But when she journeys to Shelbyville, Washington, to clear out Aunt Vella's house, Raine's highly developed sensitivity leads her to a horrifying discovery: a young woman bound and terrified in a basement storage locker. The victim has survived, but the culprit is still on the loose. Without warning, a new man enters Raine's life—investigator Zack Jones. Surprisingly, Zack isn't repelled by her powers: in fact, he has them himself. While Raine hears voices, Zack sees visions and within hours of their meeting, Raine experiences an intense, thrilling intimacy—mental, emotional, and physical—she never dared to expect.

There's one complication, however: Zack Jones is working for the Arcane Society. This secret organization, dedicated to the study of paranormal phenomena, shattered Raine's family with an act of betrayal long ago, and she's not about to trust them now. But as a killer makes her his target, and a cabal of psychic criminals known as Nightshade operates in the shadows surrounding them, Raine and Zack must rely not only on their powerful abilities but on each other. . ." ( JAK website, upcoming releases)

Hmmmm, wonder how "Dumb Ass" Fallon Jones is doing these days? Though January will indeed be here soon, it seems so very far away when waiting for a great read.

Good thing I have a collection of JAK titles (Jayne Castle, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Amanda Quick) to tide me over; I am currently re-reading Falling Awake for the fourth of fifth time (who counts?).

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Monday, November 05, 2007

I'm done ... email away!

After working late into last evening, throughout the day at work (even during lunch), I finished my article this afternoon and with a great deal of relief submitted it via email to the journal's assistant editor as requested. My final word count was 5,819; not including the bibliography, Internet resources, and literature review. I managed to stay within the 3,000 to 6,000 suggested word total. Whew!

Now, it is Monday evening and time for Dancing with the Stars- AND - Monday night football with the Steelers and the Ravens (boooo).

Feast or famine, the remote will get a work out tonight.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Lunchtime: Nora News

It's lunch time, I just now finished reading Nora News, and am happy to report November is a good month for Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb Fans:

What fun!

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sugar hangover

Halloween is over, the treat bags for my student workers have all been distributed, yet a few strange little pieces of candy remain in the resource center pumpkin. Monday afternoon I placed a lovely plastic jack-o-lantern with candy on the file cabinet, secure in the knowledge that its contents would be gone before the weeks end. Alas, the unthinkable has happened and college students are tired of sugar. The only treats left are the mini three musketeer bars (oddly enough flavored mocha, strawberry, and vanilla - that's just wrong) and individual packs of star bursts. Tomorrow, what ever might be left is destined for the trash.

The Monday article deadline draws ever closer; as of this afternoon I had over 2,200 words actually mashed together making a modicum of sense regarding my topic.

Only five more weeks of classes this term. It is almost unimaginable.