Friday, December 19, 2014

This Week in E-Mail Auto Response, 12/15 - 12/19

About This Week in Auto Response

Each workday, I write a new auto response e-mail for my work address only: nick.carbone AT macmillan DOT com. If anyone e-mails me, they get an auto response, even on days when I'm in the office. I mean why not? It's not quite a "set it and forget it" move, but the auto response does at least confirm for a send of e-mail to me that their letter has arrived. for a note on the rhetoric of auto responses.

Monday, December 15: Blank You, Spam

I do hope you do not mind getting this automatic reply. Please feel free to fill in the ending blank:

Because I must do that work due that I do so well, I reply to tell that my unread inbox will swell.  I've turned off the chime, shut down the bell, so no alerts my progress will quell. If you need a response I'll get back in a spell. Unless you've sent spam, in which case, you can just go to ___.

Tuesday, December 16: Peter, Paul, and Mary and Me

I've been thinking about hammers of late, and the Peter, Paul, and Mary song that starts, "If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning . . ." keeps popping into my head because of it.
A hammer is a technology in search of things that need hammering: nails, of course, but sometimes horseshoes, or pegs, or the handle of a chisel, or metal to be shaped . . .
Hammers vary and can be banged for a lot of different purposes and situations. Sort of like writing. Writing is a technology in search of things that need hammering out too. I guess that would make the song go like this:
I'd write out danger,
I'd write out a warning,
I'd writer out love between,
My brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

Wednesday, December 17: It's a Wonderful E-Mail

Quotes from It's a Wonderful E-Mail, the story of an outbox in despair because it thinks it makes no difference what it sends; Outbox learns its messages matter after an angel in need of wings shows Outbox how its messages have made a difference.
Hey look, Outbox. We serve hard drinks in here for unwritten mail that wants to get drunk fast, and we don't need any characters around to give the joint "atmosphere".  
Strange, isn't it? Each e-mail touches so many other lives. When it isn't sent around it leaves an awful hole, doesn't it? 
Remember, Outbox: no e-mail is a failure that has contacts.  
You see, Outbox, you've really had a wonderful e-mail. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to never send again? 
A toast to Nick's Outbox: The longest messages in town. 
Every time an autoreply is read to the end, an angel gets its wings. 

Thursday, December 18: I Am a Romantic, but Not Ridolfo

Right now the rain is almost snow. Some drops are clearly water, some white globs, slush on the way to being flakes. Given a few more degrees, I'd need a shovel today. But the degrees that do come will be warmer not cooler and so no shoveling just yet. Still, it's good sweater and hot drinks weather, simmer a stew weather, and, sitting with a warm computer on one's lap, in the cozy glow of the snow-white editing screen longing for words, writing weather. 

This is clearly not La Boheme, I'm no Rodolfo writing despite the cold in a gusty garret, but there is something Romantic to writing on a blustery day, even if only for work. Some of the stuff I'll be working on, the pedagogical stuff not the expense report stuff, requires idealism, passion, and even with all the science I know, respect for what remains mystic and uncanny about teaching and learning. So that's largely what I'll be doing today, writing stuff for courses I won't be teaching, instructors who are not me, students who will not be my own, creating imaginary classrooms with real students in them.

Friday, December 19: Writing to Unstuff

My head is stuffed. No, not because my ego is bloated (though it often is), in which case anyway, to be pedantic, I'd've said my head is swelled, but rather because I get allergies from, I suppose, dust in the winter, when windows and doors stay closed  and the air dries.

And so, while I wait for my daily ZYRTEC® to take effect , which I wash down with my morning shot of brandy, another winter tradition used only as a daily medicinal against the allergy, which medicinal, because it makes me sleepy, is followed by two cups of coffee, a brisk shower, and a morning walk to my office, which, since I work at home, is a short perambulation of six strides from bedroom to living room where couch and laptop await, I work on small things that can happily be done with a stuffed head in something of a slight haze.

Today that work is converting Microsoft Word documents of multiple-choice quizzes into the Respondus quiz format. It's tedious markup, remind me much of the days when I used to write with Word Star, a wonderful word processer that wasn't WYSIWYG when I used it. You were never quite sure until you printed whether the underlining or italics you marked up the text to have were rightly marked up. Same too with converting a quiz in Word to one in Respondus. It ain't until you import that Respondus manuscript that you really know whether there's an error.

So the work is tedious because I didn't write the quizzes, don't like the quizzes -- they're banal grammar questions, not fun at all -- is really a matter of conversion as a favor to a professor using some of our technology.

Such sometimes is the glamorous life I lead and why today, though my head is stuffed, it sure as hell ain't swelled.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You might just get more e-mail this way, because people will want to see your auto-response du jour.