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Yesterday went from a nice, sunny morning, to a dreary, rainy evening. I had to prepare my thoughts for teaching today — there are so many ways one could go about discussing the different schools of Hindu philosophy, but I think I might have a way to go about it now. One hour, obviously, is not enough time. I will also have to make sure I give some of the basic examples employed by Hindu philosophy, especially the question involved in the misperception of a rope for a snake. From that one question, one can see the different ways the different schools of thought deal with epistemology and ontology. I am glad I don’t have to teach for the next two sessions; the hour limitation really is hard to deal with, and I think, more wearying because of how fast I have to go through the material.

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Rough Roads

Every day I am on the road, it seems the traffic is getting worse, and the people are getting ruder and ruder. I was trying to get on a busy road from a side road after church, and there were several cars which just ran on by not letting me on. Once it was free, the cars behind me just started going around and not letting me on. I just don’t get why they don’t allow people ahead of them on first since they should be doing that. Let everyone on that way instead of rudely cutting people off like that.

Patrick called me, asking if we can switch some classes around — he is working on a couple papers, and wouldn’t have time to prepare for Tuesday. So we will, though it means he will be teaching two times in a row. I will have to talk over with him what he plans to do for next week, and see if he wants me to find something or if he will (the topic next week is the Kamasutra).

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Thursday was an easier teaching day for me — I showed a video to the class; it wasn’t the best, nor the worst, but it showed a side of the Hindu culture and tradition which, even if exaggerated, I think is good to show and make known. After class, I stayed on campus to eat with many of my fellow graduate students — I felt the need for socialization, and I think it went well. I saw many I’ve not seen for sometime from my classes, and met a few more of newer students, mostly those entering the Religion and Culture program. It seems to be a good crew.

In the evening, I went once again to St Matthews to hear the discussion on forming one’s conscience. I thought the speaker did quite well, especially during the Question and Answer section, where I thought the questions were not fair, and required sophisticated responses which were not always desired by the one asking the question. One person basically suggested it was too heady, get to something practical (i.e., think like me). But the presenter handled it well. I probably would have said something about the need for the heady material to figure out practical actions and left it at that.

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So Much For the Rain

Turning back papers, I of course got some people upset at how I graded. Part of it was the fact that, as I graded, I was sick, and so I didn’t give the best comments explaining how I graded. Some of it is difficult to explain the grade — although I was able to figure it out what I was doing. I was looking for more than fact but how people put them together and made a case for why their presentation was important; I will have to explain that to my students more. There is a difference between putting down facts and putting them down in a way which makes meaning out of them, and that difference will help determine the strength of a paper. Obviously, I am also looking to see how students judge the facts and determine which out of them to discuss, but I also want to see how they discuss them and not have them put them down, one without another, in a dull manner.

While I expected rain in the day, we didn’t get any; every so often I would feel a few light drops of rain and then it would stop. So I carried an umbrella all day yesterday without needing it; obviously it made sure that would be the case (as always happens; if I didn’t bring it, it would have poured). I made my way to the function at St Matthews last night, where the presentation was done by an older law professor from CUA. I was more than a little exhausted by the time, and so my focus at the lecture wasn’t high. The question was what exactly the Church means by talking about “the common good,” and what it doesn’t mean. Clearly the dignity of the human person is central and they are not to become a slave to the state, but yet there is a sense where people need to work together and not just exist in selfish isolation.

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Some Odds and Ends

Because of Columbus Day on Monday, Tuesday was treated as if it were a Monday at CUA this week. This meant I didn’t have to teach, but I still went in to talk to Patrick, my TA, over the papers we graded over the weekend, to give him the papers I had so he could record the grades, and then to go over to his studio at the Franciscan Monastery and film an interview with him over his work. Then, once I got home, I took a few hours to convert the footage I got to an actual presentation to use; the process can be quite slow, though I think my computer was acting slower than normal, and so it made the matter worse. Apparently, it was some sort of microsoft patch which was being downloaded which caused all of the problems.

When I was on campus, I found out a new book on Balthasar had been published, and so I had to get a copy of it. The text is a reflection on how Balthasar influenced the thought of fifteen different scholars; looking through the book, it looks like the majority of the essays will be quite interesting.

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A Relatively Calm Day

Thursday, my TA taught, so I didn’t have to prepare for the day, allowing me to respond to some people on the Bulgakov Blog Conference before class (it had been several days since people commented on my posts, and I had not gotten to them until then).

In the evening I went to the second of five weekly discussions at St Matthew’s on the USCCB’s document, Faithful Citizenship. I was able to talk to Tony there before and after the lecture, where we both had a laugh about a new “Catholic” blog and how difficult it is to take it seriously.

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Tuesday Terrors

Yesterday morning, I had to make photocopies for my class, and the copier kept giving me problems. First, it wasn’t copying the whole page of the text I was giving it. I didn’ t notice that immediately, and so had already made a few copies before I had to stop it and restart. Then the copier got a bad paper jam. It took me twenty minutes to get that all fixed out — I didn’t know all the places pieces of paper could be hid, and until I got them all out, it wouldn’t work.

At class, I was asked how to do citations for the paper due on Thursday. I wasn’t even thinking of it, and so, after going through some basics, I got distracted from what it was I wanted to discuss in the class itself; I got through something, but not all I planned. But I don’t expect the students noticed.

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