Today is Ms. 8's second birthday. I have discussed the occasion and commemoration of her birth before, of course (here and here, respectively), and I am happy to note that Ms. 8 seems not to need to be in the hospital this time around. It is the first birthday for which that appears to be true, and I hope that nothing happens during the day that will cause a change to that status. She remains a wonder, strong and clever, inquisitive and assertive, affectionate and just smart-ass enough to be entertaining. I am lucky to have such a daughter, increasingly so, even if she does oblige me to do a whole lot more work than would otherwise have been the case. (I shall have revenge, of course. She will have chores to do when she has a few more years on her. And she has me for a father...muwahahahahaa!)
On that note, work continues. I pushed through another freelance write-up yesterday, one treating Pierce Brown's Morning Star. I had not read its two predecessor volumes, so there was a bit of a learning curve for me to face, but the work was enjoyable. Without saying too much about it or giving a more formal review (I have one in the write-up), I can note that it is firmly embedded in science fiction genre conventions, as a number of figures and surface descriptions echo earlier masterworks of the genre--and some that are not quite "master" works. Had I the time to go back and read the earlier volumes (which may happen, depending on client needs), I would be inclined to write a paper tracing some of those references. I do not think it would be hard to do, but I know I will not be the one to do it. Time, as I note, is a concern, and I already have many other projects.
Grading will continue, as well. Three sets of papers are due to come in today. I doubt any of them will be complete; I have not yet had one that is this semester (which annoys in one sense but pleases in another, as fewer papers submitted means fewer papers need grading). Given the assignment, I do have a relatively tight turnaround on them, and given how my classes handled the last such assignment, there is some reason for me to offer commentary on the work. Students this term seem to be taking my comments to heart, much more than I have come to expect across years of teaching. It is rewarding to see my concerns addressed, and I can hope that the tendency will continue. Perhaps it will manifest well in teaching evaluations later on, whether those conducted institutionally or those conducted less formally but more publicly. I do not think it can hurt--when I attend to the grading after my daughter has had her birthday.