Friday, November 6, 2015

I'm Bored

And it's not to say that I have nothing to do --- I have literally a hundred things I need to do, including a huge stack of grading I just got, plus some old backup stuff to grade --- but rather it is that I have nothing I want to do in that mid- late evening slump.

I just realized that when daylight savings time ended (started? whichever), I continued to slip further and further back and go to bed earlier and earlier, until I am worried that I am going to go to a complete night schedule. Since my classes are late afternoon that seems unwise, but I'm not sure if I can switch back easily. And my sister has been getting tired and going to bed at ridiculously early hours, which is annoying now that I have gotten in the habit of socializing with her of an evening, and also she sometimes falls asleep on the floor out here in the living room with the tv on horrible things, like Tosh 2.0. Or, god help me, the shopping network. Which she is actually invested in and makes color commentary like other people do for sports. Aaaaaaaaaah!

Hrmph. I should get back in the habit of reading, but actually I have been reading plenty of online stuff all day, and besides I don't do well with night reading that is Highly Significant in any way, including really heavy emotionally. (And no, anything scary or thriller-y right before bed is a no-go!)

I just cleaned the dishes and most of the kitchen, for goodness' sake. My sis went to bed at the ridiculously early time of 7 (she did go into work extra extra early today to be sure she was there for some sort of important shipment or something ---- probably something radioactive or giant mutant dinosaur soldiers that they were concerned might escape, I'm sure. Or, you know, something.)

Hmm, all my knitting and crafting stuff is over in The Hot Place, all my books and toys and dvds, also in The Hot Place, my cats are not in The Hot Place but I can't go get them and cuddle them, sigh. I have sent out some job stuff but it never feels like enough, and I have done some informational interviewing but nothing has gone much further than that, and while it may not be as mentally and emotionally wrenching as doing the academic job search, "regular" job searching still always feels unfinished and hanging over you unpleasantly. Thing is, when you are looking for "a job" and casting a pretty wide net, unlike for teaching jobs where you pull a bunch of ads and then you're done, you could pull and pile up potential jobs to apply to for hours and hours and hours, and I get overwhelmed feeling and shut down pretty quickly. Then I'm not capable of much beyond endless games of bejeweled. Ooh, I know what I can do tonight!

Random random thought: did Farmville go out of business or just out of style? There was a time when half the people I knew on facebook were sending me various farmville requests, and I haven't heard anything about that in months. Good thing too. Maybe they turned it off so that other people don't get those announcements any more. Or maybe they have just been replaced in the algorithms by cat pictures and gifs. I guess I could teach myself how to code gifs --- that's as good an evening activity as any.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


I haven't got anything to report but complaining. So what will I do? I will complain!

First of all, I hate informational interviews. They are just as nerve-wracking as actual interviews (side note: I am not a good phone interviewer!) but without an actual job on the line. No, indeed, they are like pre-interviews for the interview, in this bizarre recursive process where every step you take requires more preparation than the last and only moves you backward in the hiring progress.

I had a spate of requests for informational interviews get ignored, so then I sent out a huge number across a couple departments at a university, and then all of those requests got responded to and I had the stress and running about and preparation for a whole bunch all in a day. And I had lots of student grading to deal with, too, so I am not a wise planner. Plus, I feel like I am getting a smaller amount of useful tips with each interview --- which, if the point was really to learn about the field and how to get a job, would be progress, but really, these are all about meeting enough people and networking and hoping they will get you past the barriers somehow to actually get considered for a job.  I don't think that this is working for me. Meh. I hate schmoozery.

Also, I had one application "move further forward in the process" and request more stuff, but then promptly get rejected. Sigh. I would expect them to promote up through the ranks anyway. But this was the closest to any sort of interest in my job apps I have gotten, and is also the one most closely matching my prior academic interests. I don't know how anybody does an actual career and field transition --- they must have to know somebody personally and get a pity hire because nobody seems to be looking at resumes that show a trajectory up through a different field. There's "sure, I could do that" and there's, "the best, closest match of resumes in this pile to the job description." Sigh.

I would have thought I could have gotten some better responses to the job apps by now. I am feeling like a failure and that it is futile to even try. It's been 10 months since I knew I would be nonrenewed and, what, 4-5 months I have been unemployed and looking? In the middle of historically low unemployment and job growth around here? I'm sick of it.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Breaking the chain


A little post before I fall asleep.

A normal person would take someone's writing log/system and actually use it for writing. I used it for planking.

Not the weird internet meme that was going on a while back, but literally doing planks and push-ups. My knee still doesn't feel "normal" --- as in, not reminding me it is there, like most of my other body parts --- and I was trying to increase my every-other-day walks. But if all I am doing is walking, then all my other muscles will melt and dislodge and fall off my body. Or something. Yoga would of course cover the whole body, but it pushes and stretches the knees and my knee still constantly reminds me that I should be careful of it and I should baby it. So I pulled out a link I saved long ago for a plank challenge to work your core.

You find your max time you hold it in good form and then keep it up for a month without breaking your chain. At my start I could only do about 30 seconds and was doing push-ups on my knees. And I  know that is way out of shape but the point is to improve. So I was increasing it a couple seconds every day and tracking my walks at about 4 miles every few days and really liking the accumulation of days in my tracker.

Then the first essays hit.

I hate that 2 classes can swamp me under just as much as 4 but there it is. More worrisome is that I have broken my chain of applying out to jobs and need to get back into things. I managed to wrangle another informational interview but the emotional build-up and then release of it all also contributed to my lackluster progress.

I will get another set of essays pretty soon so this weekend is all about figuring out what we're doing in essay 3. And I need to plan more in this new job siege strategy of interviews.

And, hopefully, fit in the time for another walk.

I dunno about the planking, though. Once you break a chain of that type it's like extra tough to motivate yourself to actually get back into it. Like the extra momentum from before has become extra resistance.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Little Frustrations

How long have I been at my sister's house now? It is starting to wear on me. It is really difficult to grade here, especially when she is at home in the evenings because the place is so small and she blasts the tv on horrible shows. And just having two classes is the same as four --- the grading expands to fill all available time. I haven't been sending out job apps since getting the big pile of midterms and papers and that should have me worried.

And furthermore, after having the two volunteer places both scheduling me on the same days and almost same times for several times in a row, there is now radio silence! I can't tell if that is because of their work loads or because I actually come off as something horrible and they don't want to work with me. (It all sounds believable if you have been fired for unlikeability.) Hrmf.

I need to grade this big stack o crap and do some cleaning and get back to thinking about a job strategy. And kick my sister out of the house ---- I thought her falling asleep to The Great Halloween Bake Off thing was bad enough, but hearing Robertson and all these other old fogeys talk over each other on PBS has got to be worse!

I haven't even told you about her singing, which I have always charitably ignored rather than telling her I loathe choirs and vocal music. But she has now joined a music group which is shaping up to be Bad News in terms of the money outlay and the practicing and the stress, and also she is constantly singing and practicing and bubbling and making weird noises. Meh.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I miss my cats so much

And I feel like the shittiest caretaker ever. There they are locked up in some little storage cage and they think they are abandoned, if they even remember me any more. Will they ever trust me again? Will I even ever see them again? I am so horrible.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Essay Prompt Request

Ok peeps, I'd love a little help here. I'm stuck w what someone else ordered for books which means extra plays and no novels. I planned out 2 short story essays and a drama research paper (much like I've done before). 

What I would *like* is for that second paper be a modified research paper --- I give them some sources about craft or genre more generally and they make arguments about how well it works (or doesn't) in what we have read. I have some intro to narrative theory stuff we could read about narrative gaps or foreshadowing, but would love to have a larger list of good, accessible essays. 

Know of anything? Maybe you can point me towards something in one of those Cambridge Companions or the like? 

I guess CA schools have a "critical thinking" component to their comp classes that also requires them to identify and evaluate logical fallacies in critical writing about literature --- and this place says it is not enough for them to identify fallacies in fellow students' writing. 

Now, I don't think most college freshmen are experienced and sophisticated enough to read criticism and successfully  evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of it, but I think they can learn to read and annotate a critical essay and identify the claims. And it might be a bit of a stretch for them to do what I am suggesting here but it would be good practice for the research paper.

Any creative writing peeps with craft-style  articles would be really helpful!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Progress so slow it might be standing still

Bleah. I should be applying for jobs right now. Muh. Eh. Foo! I just went through and pulled a lot of new openings off of HERC, so ... yeah, eventually. Meh.

I have made a little squidgen of progress on another front for the job search process, and found a couple nonprofit orgs that I would be interested in volunteering for. Funny how quickly people respond to my applications when paying me is not on the line!

Anyway, I have not yet started my volunteering! Argh! Last week I had several face-to-face meetings so people could ascertain that I am in fact not a crazy, and I seem to have passed those. (I guess I need to figure out how to have those meetings with U admin people to get my apps over the hump.) Now I am ready to start doing various orientations and trainings, some of which are this week and which continue next week.

So sloooooooow! Look, this will not help my resume right away, and how long will I have to volunteer with people before I have accumulated the "3 to 5 years progressively responsible experience" in these skills? Arrrgh! (And why do even the jobs listed as "entry level" or "good for a new graduate" also include these insane experience requirements? You can't have it both ways, people!)

To make things even slower, one of the volunteer positions is for petting cats. Now, petting cats is fun and lovely, but not in demand on job listings. What I would love to do for them is to help them create a newsletter or direct-marketing email campaign and get some nice fundraising and writing clips. But --- and yeah, this makes sense --- they want me to do all the orientations and plenty of on-the-ground standard volunteering before they trust me with their website or creating materials. But that means this could take a long time. Argh.

Teaching is fine ---- though I am getting midterms this week and papers at the end of next week, so I might not be so "fine" after that. I think I am getting evaluated in a couple weeks, and I need to go back through and update the essay instructions for the next sequence. Oh, and I finally got the instructor copy of the book that whoever was supposed to teach this class ordered, which makes life much easier and less anxiety-ridden.

Driving home from my night class, however, is still a stress test, because they do all the damn freeway work at night and I have to drive a gauntlet of eye-blindingly bright lane closures and merges, and also the last couple times they have had closed the interchange ramp exit for the freeway I want. This has sent me through the other freeway route which I don't know as well and which has those nasty super-curvy weird interchanges. Nope. Don't like it one bit. Driving it in the daytime is fine, but at night my eyesight is just a little bit haloed and fuzzy and it is Not Fun. I can't wait until the El Nino deluges me with rain as I try to navigate my way home. Meh.