Life After the MFA: Grading Papers



In order to avoid grading papers, I’ve decided to write about grading papers.  This procrastination logic will make sense to everyone I know that grades papers.


There are a few ways to grade papers, each technique changing according to the time of year, what the teacher ate for dinner, the weather, how tired they are, pretty much everything.  However, there is only one wrong way to grade a paper and that is the “Checks” and “Xs” approach.  This is when you just randomly write “Checks” and “Xs” all over a paper without reading it, look at the student’s name, wonder if they are a good student or not for about three seconds and simply write, “Good job.  B+” on the back of it and turn on the television to watch House. Every teacher has done this.  If they say they haven’t, they are lying. So, now that we know the wrong way.  Let’s go over the right way.

Have no doubt, grading papers is hard work.  There is no end to how long you can spend grading a paper.  You can check the spelling, check the grammar, check the logic of the paragraph, check the MLA formatting, check the sources, check the margins, check every little thing about it and write, write, write on the paper until the paper is more ink from your pen than it is from the paper itself.  And, I know what you are going to say, people who never graded a paper before.  You teach!  You are supposed to do all that!  You can easily spend a half hour on each paper you grade.  And, if you have 50 papers over the weekend, which you sometimes do, then you can spend 25 to 30+ hours grading them.  So, yeah, sometimes you need a system.  Here is how I tackle the grading beast.

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Modern Warfare 2: Impressions

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 asks a simple question.  Can a video game cause an emotional reaction?  I’ve been sad before, by playing a game.  I’ve been a bit upset, a bit bothered, a bit concerned about the characters.  But it takes a ton of stuff to get me to care about actions in a video game.  I play video games to get away from my problems, not rush to them.  MW2 attempts to fix this.  In some places, it works.  In other places, they try to make it work and it doesn’t.  But, overall, the game succeeds in making the player actually say, “Oh Shit!” or “NO WAY!” or “Oh My GOD!”   Those moments alone are worth the sixty bucks.  Spoiler Alert.  After the break, I’m going to ruin this for everyone.

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10 PM Podcast: Out. Door. Shampoo. Towel. Edition

The game: Halo 3, ODST. Is it good? What is the campaign like? What is FireFight like? Is it worth $60? And when did ExtremeTaco get a girlfriend? And why, when geeks get girlfriends, is it surprising? Nate Kowal (Of Best.Gamepad.Ever) and Tom Kennedy (Of Awesometown) also do their best to make the podcast 15 minutes longer than it was supposed to be by making predictions about the gaming industry of 2010. Will Gears of War 3 come out? Will Halo: Reach be squad based? What about Grand Theft Auto 5? Or 4? Or what ever it is. And, finally: should you listen to this podcast? Yes. Why. You know why. You’ve always known why. Listen. Learn. And? Yep. Enjoy.

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Check the Podcast page here

Download it to iTunes

There has to be some kind of way out of here.

The 10 PM Podcast: Yeah, You sort of do look like a bum Edition

And the summer is over. While most people traveled and visited family and, I don’t know, went outside, Nate and I played video games and worked at jobs. But these weren’t simple jobs. Proof of point, Nate (of Best Gamepad Ever fame) almost was beaten to pulps by a man that Nate misunderstood as a common NYC bum. Thus it will be forever remembered as the “Slurpee Cup Incident”. We also talk about Gay rights, Orson Scott Card, Shadow Complex, the new Batman game, Mass Effect, Gears of War 2 and, uh, other stuff. The amount of awesome in this podcast might only be equal to a cup of coffee. But, oh man, is it a really good cup of coffee. Listen. Learn. Enjoy.

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Listen to it now

Put that mess on your iTunes

Check out the Podcast Page

Or, just try and figure out what the appeal is.

The 10 PM Podcast: I’m not a Cylon! Edition

This is it. This is why I do a podcast. We’ve got Nate Kowal from Best Gampad Ever. We’ve got Z of  Hipster, Please fame and Geek Dad and Nerd-core music accolades. And, man, do we show off our Geek cards. Prepare yourself for the most amazing, most in-depth, most bowel-moving podcast you’ll ever listen to. If you like the show, be sure to review it on iTunes. Oh, and Nate? The Star Wars Theme? It is out of love, brother. And I wanna apologize ahead of time for the audio quality.  I need to find a new place to host, bad.  Recommendations welcome!  Listen. Learn. And, you know. Enjoy.

Listen to the podcast here.

Download to it here.

Check out the podcast page here.

Put that junk all up on your iTunes.

Or, just remember the good ol’ days.

The 10 PM Podcast: Geek Card Edition

Dont you wish your girl was hot like me...

"Don't you wish your girl was hot like me..."

So, exactly why does Tom K have a crush on a mail carrier? I mean, they carry mail all day. How cute can they be? And what is up with Tyler having a birthday on one day but telling people it is actually on another day? And Nate Kowal doesn’t want to see Transformers 2? And he’s never seen Transformers Uno? What in the world is going on with this podcast? Well, we do have a pretty good conversation about what makes a game have long legs. Long legs like a mail carrier. No, no, no.  Not those kinds of legs!  Like, what makes a game a go-to for constant enjoyment?  What makes us play the same game for years? That’s what I’m talking about. Like always, we try to figure stuff out, while making fun of each other at the same time. Please join Tyler Childs, Tom Kennedy and Nate Kowal of Best Gamepad Ever fame as we waste your time for you. Listen. Learn. Enjoy

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Listen to it Directly

Download it to your iTunes Directly

Directly check out the Podcast page

Or just wish ExtremeTaco a happy birfday, directly

The 10 PM Podcast: E3 Edition

How are you gonna buy all these games this fall?  Blood.  Youre going to sell your blood.

"How are you gonna buy all these games this fall? Blood. You're going to sell your blood."

Welcome to another edition of the 10 PM Podcast.  No, I still have no idea why I’m calling it “10 PM”.  I sort of think that I came up with it during a dream, as I was laying in bed thinking about ways to figure out and lock down my Internet fame.  This week, I have Nate Kowal of Best Gamepad Ever all up in this piece, talking about all the Microsoft info from E3.  We not only talk about it, we injest it.  We consume it.  We just about pretty much drink the stuff done like it is water from the mighty heavens.  Want to know what we think about Splinter Cell Conviction?  Halo 3 ODST and Halo Reach?  Mass Effect 2?  How are we going to pay for all these games?  Seriously, put down the chicken.  I’m asking you a damn question.  How are we going to pay for all these games?  I mean, there are a billion games coming out!  What are we suppose to do?  I know what you need to do.  Do you know?  Come here.  Seriously.  Come in close.  You need to listen, learn, and enjoy. Intro and Outro music by Pempi

Download the Podcast here.

Listen to it here.

Checkout the 10 PM Podcast page here.

Down load it straight to the iTunes.

Or, you know, you can just check out Megan Fox.

The All New 10 PM Podcast: An Afternoon with DJ Datz

Where Dreams are made...

Where Dreams are made...

Welcome to the all new, somewhat but not really improved 10 PM Podcast.  No, I have no reason at all to call it the 10 PM podcast besides the fact that this is the internet, and you can do whatever the hell you want to.  This week, I got the chance to skype up with DJ Datz of 360Sync fame.  What do two guys who play a lot of video games talk about?  Yep, you guessed it.  Gay rights.  But we talk about video games too.  We also discuss our predictions for E3, which DJ Datz is very lucky to be going to.  And we do it all for you, dear listener.  It is our way of giving back to the people that give us so much.  It is also our way of wasting time instead of doing real work.  But whatever. Listen and enjoy.

Intro and Outro music by Pempi

Download the show here

Listen to it directly here

Put that junk on your iTunes, son!

Check out the podcast page, kid!

Hey, this is DJ Datz’s Twitter page and this is the 360Sync page!

And this is gross!

Saying Goodbye to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

It was a good show.

And the worst part about it is that there is a whole population of people that will never, ever see it.  Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has been canceled.  It is gone, and won’t be coming back.  Just like Firefly, a great television show has been taken off the air because not enough people watched it.  Good television doesn’t have the luxuries that movies and books have.  A book or a movie can find an audience years later.  A television show rarely is allowed to become fleshed out, to breath, before executives with dollar signs begin to touch and pull on it or just destroy it completely.   The sci-fi site i09 has done a wonderful job covering the lose of a brilliant television series.  Here is a piece from a rant by Charlie Jane Anders.

These were real, complicated, messed up people, making mistakes but also being brave and generous, in the face of the probably inevitable end of the world. You couldn’t help but root for them.

And here are some last words from producer Josh Friedman.

I prefer to watch characters try and fail and try again and sort of succeed a little and maybe fuck up again. That’s what I want to see. Flawed people trying to figure their shit out. Because that’s me. We’re not perfect parents or lovers or friends. We’re not heroes. But we can do heroic things once in a while, sometimes even on purpose. So TSCC is a sloppy mix of hope and despair and that suits some people just fine and others don’t have a taste for it. I’ve made peace with that…But my show got canceled. So what do I know.

Godspeed, TSCC.