Last night I wrote a midterm I’ve been dreading since the semester began. I’m taking an online course on perception with a professor I had once before for stats who is not known for his, shall we say, normalcy. He is one of those people you stereotype professors as but no professors are actually like in real life – disheveled, disorganized, highly intelligent, socially unaware, and condescending if your beliefs are anything besides his own staunch atheism.
I spent a good 5+ hours studying for this test, which, if you know me, is a significant portion of time to dedicate to any one thing. Seriously, I don’t even take that long to have a baby. It was a 3-hour midterm and I was done in about 35 minutes, but don’t let that fool you about those 5 hours of studying being well spent.
We started off with multiple choice. If you have any experience with Scantron sheets, you know that the numbers of the questions are fairly important, since a machine does the marking. Things started off ok, until #13. This was followed by #4, then #11. Waaaaiit a minute.
Me: “The numbers go off starting at #13. Should we just renumber?”
Professor: “What? I looked at this 3 times! I knew I shouldn’t have that third double rum and coke.” (maniacal laughter)
Other student (throws hands up in distress): “SO THE NUMBERS WON’T MATCH THE SCANTRON?!”
Professor: “Nope! That’s ok! Consider it a perception challenge!”
Another student: “Umm…#28 is the same as #29.”
Professor: “What?! Really? Crap. Well, oh well – hope you get them both right! Actually, wait, leave the second one blank. Oh wait, that’ll screw up the scantron. Well, just cross that one out and bump the next one up on the sheet.”
Ok seriously, how many of those rum and cokes DID you have, sir? This is getting ridiculous. We all erase our careful numbering and start over at #13, all the way to #40. Several people express confusion at the fact that the original numbers only go to 38 and they are supposed to have 40. Those people missed the discussion of the #13 and onward problem earlier.
I was dreading this exam ALREADY, but this was beyond absurd.
So I finally make it through the multiple choice, which weren’t too bad once you got focused, and turn over to the short answer questions. He gave us about 20 questions beforehand to guide our studying, and I dutifully worked through them all and had a solid working knowledge of 19 of them.
Well, what do you suppose the first question was, the only one worth a hefty 15 points? If you guessed the 20th question, dingdingding, you’d be right! How DOES one delineate the processes involved in the transduction of light energy into the neural code?
Now I can’t decide if I’m ticked because the guy is crazy and completely lacking a sense of structure and clarity or if I’m just grumpy because I know I’m not looking at getting an A in this course.
So that was my night. How was yours?
Let’s have a calming bowl of soup.
This is a great go-to soup to use up extra veggies or when you’re feeling like your vitamin intake is a little low in the gray winter months I love so much except for their lack of fresh berries. I used roasted red peppers and butternut squash with spinach, but you could just as easily use (or add) roasted sweet potatoes, other peppers, or kale. If you skip the green the colour is even more beautiful.
The dominant flavour is the roasted red peppers, and I love the sweet smokiness roasting brings out in vegetables. If you don’t have an immersion blender, this could be pureed in batches in a regular blender or food processor, just be careful to avoid hot splashes (not to be confused with hot flashes).
Aaaah, even talking about soup makes me feel more relaxed.
In the grand scheme of things, is one crazy professor and a B (or worse!) really going to affect my life? I think not. But thanks for listening :) I heart you all.
- 1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise with a very sharp knife
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2-3 large cloves garlic
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 cups loosely packed fresh spinach (1 big handful)
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- ¼ tsp cumin
- Salt to taste
- Sour cream and additional spinach of basil leaves (for garnish - optional)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Rub or brush oil on squash, peppers, and garlic and pierce outside of butternut squash randomly with a fork. Place on large foil-lined baking sheet, with squash insides facing down. Roast until pepper skins are blackened and squash is tender when poked with a fork, about 30 minutes, turning the peppers at least once to blacken other side.
- Immediately put peppers in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit 5 minutes, then rub off skins as much as possible. Remove seeds and stems and discard. Scoop seeds out of squash and discard.
- In large saucepan, combine skinned peppers, butternut squash flesh (discard peel) and roasted garlic (squeezed out of peels). Add chicken or vegetable stock and spinach and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in seasonings, adjusting to taste. If you prefer a very creamy soup, stir in half a package of cream cheese until melted or ½ cup heavy cream at this point.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream and some greenery, if using.