Day 124: Start of Second Semester

…and we’re back! From the smiles on students’ faces, it seems that the grim memories of final exams have already faded. However, word on the street (from second-year students) is that this semester will be difficult–seven classes, and unlike first semester, apparently not a bird course among them.

(Bird course, n. If you’re breathing, you pass. Consciousness during class is optional. The etymology of “bird course” is uncertain–some authorities suggest it’s because you fly effortlessly through the course; others state that in the 1940s and 50s, as women entered university in greater numbers, “bird course” was a derisive, sexist term for a class that even the “chicks” could pass. But I digress.)

Today’s class was Strategic Communications, a “hybrid” course that requires 2 hours per week of classroom time and another hour per week of on-line work. It was specifically tailored for the Brewmaster program, with the idea that we will come out the other side able to produce a comprehensive media kit for our brewery–including use of social media–as well the ability to design and present a cohesive business plan.

Professor Aleksandra (“Sandra”) Merk admitted to being a big fan of good beer–always a plus to a class full of beer-makers–and recommended a visit to her favourite pub, “Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem” in Nottingham, England.

( “Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem”, known locally as “The Trip”, was supposedly built in 1189, and  claims to be the oldest pub in England. However, the Guinness Book of Records lists “Ye Olde Fighting Cocks” in St Albans as the oldest. Proponents of “The Trip” point out that  in 1539 “Fighting Cocks” was taken apart and rebuilt at its current location when the nearby St Albans monastery was dissolved by Henry VIII, so technically it’s not the same pub. Drinkers at “Fighting Cocks” respond that  there is no evidence that “The Trip” was established in 1189–other than its current sign–and gleefully wave copies of the Guinness Book of Records. Customers at “Ye Olde Man and Scythe” in Bolton say ‘a curse on both their houses’, claiming that their pub predates both by two centuries. But I digress.)

Prof. Merk was engaging enough that one of the students not only admitted to drinking St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout for breakfast today, but also later admitted that “breakfast” was not consumed until after noon.

With a writing assignment due every other week and a major presentation at the end of the course, there will be a lot of writing involved. Speaking of which, I must get started on our first bit of homework: adding an entry to a class “wiki”, writing an entry in something called a “blog”–got to find out more about that–and writing an entry in an on-line journal.

But first, a trip to the beer fridge. All this talk of English pubs has me hankering for a pint of bitter…

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2 Comments on “Day 124: Start of Second Semester”

  1. Jen Nad Says:

    Wow, thanks for the shout out Alan, however, I now feel the need to defend myself on the internet. It was for RESEARCH purposes. My new housemate had never had a stout! I was HELPING. Tasted like a freeking dream though…


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