Monday, September 23, 2002

A bit of dilemma in class today, and maybe I made the wrong choice.

I have a video on framing that I wanted my students to watch. It's actually a good video, and shows them a lot of things I can't show them in class (would that I could frame an entire house in room C123, but that's not going to happen). I was particularly interested in the floor and wall framing parts, showing the sill sealer, the jack studs, the headers and trimmers at the windows. It was a good way for them to spend 45 minutes, especially right after I lecture on platform framing and floor joists.


The video has two co-hosts, a man and woman. I think they used to have a show on cable. The thing is, the information in the video is good, but the woman is an absolutely incompetent carpenter. Everytime I watch the video, I am newly afraid she's going to bash her hand with a hammer or nail her foot to the floor with the power-actuated nail driver. So, I needed to make a decision--show them a video with basically good information but a basically incompetent woman, or try to come up with some other way to deliver the same information in as efficient a manner.

Well, I showed the video, and instantly everyone began laughing at the woman. The thing is, it was funny. The guy would place a piece of sheathing, and she would pull it down and align it with the bottom of the wall. While he was talking, he'd ease it back to where he wanted it, and she would pull it back down. After they did this three times, he finally said, "Robin, don't we want to align this with the top of the wall?" And she thought it about for a couple of seconds, and said, "Oh, yeah, that's what we were going to do." It cracks me up when I'm by myself, but do I really want all my (mostly male) students see this woman make mistake after mistake? And every time they showed her pounding a nail, three out of four blows missed the nail head. I can't keep from laughing at her, but I could hear the guys in the class joking sotto voice about how "she hammers like a girl!" and I knew I had made a mistake.

I probably set feminism back 40 years. But at least my students now know what jack stud and king studs are. There's some masculine framing language for you.

8:53 PM

Tell me something that my friends of color haven't already told me.
6:16 PM

So, the big topic of discussion today is, of course, the tornado. A 150-mile path cut by one F-3 tornado. This is how much my life has changed since leaving the west coast-I actually know what the Fujita scale is. I shouldn't have to worry about tornadoes when it's not even tornado season, and if you don't when tornado season is, you don't live in the Midwest! Sometimes I really just want to go back to some place where the weather is not quite so insane.

Most of my students are from out in the county, or Martinsville, or Ellettsville. These are the students that go to a tech college--they're Hoosiers born and bred, and live in the working class areas or out in the rural areas. So, most of my students have interesting tornado stories to tell, since this storm system seemed to have some sense of class structure when it went through Morgan and Monroe counties. I don't know if it's true or not, but the word always is, tornadoes like the perimeters of settled areas, and flat areas, which is why Bloomington usually squeaks by without too much damage. What that means is the tornadoes hit the trailer parks on the edge of town, and the flat areas where the farmers and poor people live.

B. came in around 5:00 to drop off his homework, and I asked him how bad his sister's apartment was. It's gone, he says. But she wasn't hurt? "She was home sleeping, because she works out at Cook? she's on that new 9-hour schedule so she was home trying to get some sleep? and her husband called up and told her to go the bank because he needed some money. She said she didn't want to because it was getting pretty bad out, but he said, "What are you, chicken?" so she went, which turned out to be a good thing because there's a tree where her apartment used to be. You wouldn't believe some of the stuff we dug out. We dug out a garage door opener? You know, the motor and drive chain and track? Buried in her living room." He said there are three apartments left in the building (across from the high school), but none of them are habitable.

M. lives between K-Mart and Walmart in Martinsville, the hardest hit area. His house is fine but none of the houses across the street are there anymore. That new warehouse out on 37? It's gone. That model home? It's still there, but it's displaced off the foundation about three feet. In a sick sort of way, I'm looking forward to driving to practice on Wednesday because my route follows exactly the tornado's path. I've seen plenty of pictures, but I'd like to go look at K-Mart, McDonald's, the Hill View Motel, Galyan's, etc., myself.

I am still amazed that no one got killed. It wasn't just that the wind sheared off telephone poles and trees, it sheared off cell phone towers. It brought down one of those grey electric pylon giants that march through clear cut land. How do you knock one of those over? It seems impossible.

Garry of Garry's Marathon was apparently the most serious injury, and that's bad enough. A wall fell on him. Still, as Catherine points out, its comforting to know an entire building can fall on you and you still might make it out alive.

5:57 PM

No internet access at work due to storm damage. One of my students didn't show up this morning, but left a message saying he was still out picking up his sister's stuff because her apartment was destroyed on Friday. In Ellettsville alone, 28 houses destroyed, 39 more uninhabitable, 101 with minor damage. Apparently they're still counting in Martinsville, Greewood, Homecroft, Indy, etc.
11:52 AM

Well, I won't be upset if I don't get the job, but it does seem kind of silly to call me up and tell me my bid was too *low*. Jesus, try to give a non-profit a break and look what it gets me. I'm sorry, but there's no way on earth that it should take more than an hour or two to knock out a floor plan, site plan and elevation. Anyone who is charging you for more is ripping you off.

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