) Pencils Down, Everyone Dreamed it was test day in Early American History class, taught by Linda Blakeslee. I was unprepared, having done only about 10 percent of the reading, and thought / hoped I'd be able to just wing it.

The test had two parts: a 40-question multiple choice (scantron form) section, and an essay. Normally I hate scantron tests, but on this occasion I was very grateful, knowing that one chance in 5 was a lot better than a goose egg. (Unless she put on a lot of the multiple-bubble combinations like "for choice 13, fill in a *and* d.")

Realizing suddenly that it was test day, I studied the handouts and textbook until the last possibe moment, trying to latch onto a few facts and names which seemed most likely to appear. The two essay questions I remember went something like this: a) Explore plausible sources of unhappiness for James Madison. Explain the personal and political disappointments he faced immediately before and during the revolution, and in his years of political involvement afterward. b) Describe the notable features of the Southern coastline, starting with Baltimore and working south, explaining how the coastline interacted with major events in American history (concentrating on the American revolution) with specific examples. Did coastal geography play as big a role in the North? Defend your answer with details. The test questions were harder than I anticipated (both sections, that is), and I basically blanked out. I did fill out some of the scantron sheet (starting from 40 and going backwards as per usual), and started outlining an essay before jumping onto one of the supplied computers. Independent of my poor preparation for the test, I resented that the testing rules actually *required* Microsoft Word as the program to use for typing in your essay. When you were ready to turn in your essay, you were allowed to either print it out, or save it to the shared hard drive in a certain standardized filename. I hit the worst aspects of panic and ignorance and I tried to convert my bad outline into an acceptable essay (and I was shooting high at this point -- for a C-, say), finding the keyboard so unrepsonsive that my typing speed was cut in half. I remember thinking that the subject actually sounded more interesting than it had when I had passed on actually studying it beforehand. 2) That Old House My 2nd notablee dream last night was of a parody TV show in which ugly houses are mocked, then demolished. The first house up for batting was if I correctly understood things in Charlotte, NC -- an antebellum (or phoney antebellum) monstrosity of white marble and plaster, with a huge pseudo-greek roof extending over the porch, held up by 4 columns. My perspecctive shifted from watching this as a TV show to providing the commentary. "Look at those columns! Ugly, ugly, ugly. Absolutely useless to the design, but unfortunately they're technically functional, since they're holding up that disgusting roof! I can't wait to rid the world of *this* eyesore and cart the materials off to the dump ..."