Friday, February 28, 2014

February recap

Oops, it's the end of the month and I realize I haven't really written anything for February. As usual, I've been extremely busy with teaching and publications work. But, I'm still here and I'm still standing.

A quick recap of what went on this month:

Today, the 28th, we ran a big launch for a book my office recently published, "History from Below: A View from the Philippine South" by Dr. Heidi Gloria. Editors hardly get any credit, so let me just step up in this little space of mine to say that this is what I spent most of last year working on. It was a relief to finally see it published, and doubly so to finally launch it. And now comes the truly hard part: marketing and selling the book.

I'm practically done with my classes, and have been so for the past two weeks. Technically there's another week to go before finals for graduating students, but there's only so much that my students can take. As far as the flow was concerned, we were at an end. So I ended. I've been using the time discussing career options and employment strategies with them instead. Sadly, I've had to fail two students: one dropped the subject after he failed to submit a project; his partner hung on, but tried his darnedest best to fail anyway by missing midterm exams and the major class presentation.

We had the fifth year running of ATMOSphere, the conference / showcase by students in my Open Source Technologies class on Feb. 12. I started ATMOSphere with my students from 2010 (and it was they who came up with the acronym -- Advanced Technologies Meets Open Source), and we've been running it ever since, even during the years when I didn't teach the subject. Good presentations from some truly stellar students, and a good effort of stepping up from the others. I'm happy I got some people out of their shells to take on projects that truly interested them.

I attended a Teaching Literature conference in Ateneo de Manila on Feb. 15. It was a reunion of sorts with writers and teachers I've come to know over the years. It still surprises me how large my circle in the literary community has become. As to the conference itself, my central takeaway from the the discussions was that the comparative approach seems to be the way to go in the face of ever-widening cultural influences from around the world.

Finally: I've lost almost twenty pounds since the start of the year. That's come from a reduced rice intake substituted with vegetables and daily laps around the pool. Still far from my ideal weight, but I hope to hit it by June.

Onward to March!