Monday, January 31, 2011

The Writing Mojo is good; the Grading Mojo, not so much

I have now worked on my article in some form or another every day since Friday! Yippie! Today I even had Ideas, which I'm hoping will eventually fill in some of my gaps and help me figure out the order I need to discuss things in.

Today I Had Ideas for about an hour this morning, and I did yoga! I may just cave and order a dvd for home, as I'm not capable of getting up and driving in for an early class or for stopping everything and driving in for the noon class. I might get on it eventually, but at least when I get up and am in the mood for yoga (shocking rarity for me!) I could start it up right away before procrastinating out of it. Today I used what I remember of my old teacher's practice and some free clips on youtube. I'm still pondering whether to order a dvd or sign up for something that would let me live stream different clips and thus not get bored.

Of course, now I am supposed to be grading, and am not.

To grade:

-25 in class assignments
- 25 class assignments for the other class
- 50 stripey class papers that I had them turn in online and now will have to grade on the computer (bleah!)
- 25 comp response papers
- tomorrow I will get the first set of comp drafts (25)
- Thursday I will get the first Fruit Studies assignment

I had a lovely weekend though, in the State of Denial. It was very pretty there and I went outside and window shopping and got groceries and such.

Today I went and read through a bunch of my old posts to see if I had any advice or useful tips to get myself unstuck on this article (they were not much help) and I can see that I was posting up until about this point in the semester last time, so reality is about to smack me one, I bet. Then the only posting you'll get from me is the occasional rant about punctuation. But writing my article is so much more fun! Maybe I could do the Magical Month of Academic Publishing again, this time in March? Hmm. Will keep my options open.

This semester is going much better though, so far. Partly because I am re-teaching stuff and I did a lot more prep to get the classes set up before the semester started; also partly because I am more acclimated to the area. Also I only have 3 classes instead of 4 and that will help with the grading a lot. But another reason is that I made a promise to myself (a new year's resolution, sortof) to read for pleasure. And I have been constantly turning away from my work to snatch a few more pages of reading on this massive brick of a novel I chose. (I'm not going to say what it is and win the game of Humiliation by admitting to you all that I had never read it before this.) I like it. I like reading again. It is the reason I got into this whole thing in the first place, after all, the reason I went to grad school and stuck with a PhD. Sometimes it's good to remember that, no matter what happens, job-wise.

I may keep reading after this book is done, too! (we'll see how big I talk once the comp essays are in, right?) I was thinking of turning to the Russians, of which I am woefully ignorant. I think I read Crime and Punishment and A Day in the Life of Ivan Illyvich and maybe a few stories way back in high school, but other than that, Russian literature is a blank canvas with only some semi-familiar names dotted along it. (I don't feel any particular shame about admitting my deficiencies in the Russian classics, as I was an English major. But at the same time, I feel like it would be a good goal to work through these in my lifetime, as an accomplishment that would befit an English major.) Would it be too ambitious to go for War and Peace or should I start with something more manageable, like short stories by Checkov or Gogol?

(I should note this is also my way of dealing with two other problems with this postdoc: no nightlife in the area and my habit of online shopping in the evenings when I'm bored. Even if I read just one or two evenings a week, that will probably help out my finances. Bonus if I check out classic canonical lit from the library instead of buy it!)

Yeah, I really should go grade now. Sigh.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cooking up some writing mojo

I don't have writing mojo, but I have marmalade; does that count? I just came back from the grocery store and it was an impulse purchase. I love toast with jam (and have plenty of raspberry jam open in the fridge already) and I could live off of nothing but toast and jam if that weren't unhealthy and fattening the way I do it. (Seriously, I could eat toast --- with or without jam --- All. Day.)

But marmalade doesn't really have anything to do with research and writing, does it? Not as far as I can tell. Too bad. I shall then make the completely bizarre and confusing transition from snacks to my research plans, and you'll have to hold on tight to keep following me.

Back before I made my research plans, or when I was in the preliminary stages, I was in email contact with Dr Does Everything, who does everything. I don't know if I've discussed hir on the blog or not, but not too long ago, Dr Does Everything was a grad student. And so was I! And now you get to call me Dr Cog! How cool is that. Nope, still hasn't gotten old. Anyway.

Dr Does Everything landed a tenure track job and for a short while I was jealous. But man, hir situation sure taught me what to appreciate about mine ---- there are more than 10,000 people in this city; I moved here with a bunch of postdocs instead of all alone with only my partner; the postdocs are both in culture shock and are my age, whereas Dr Everything's nearest hire is 15 years older and is just going up for tenure (and has both gotten over and forgotten the difficulties of adjusting to their little town, so no one understands why zie is having a hard time), and worst of all, they are looking at a major budget shortfall, the definite plan of layoffs, and possibly closing the entire department a la SUNY next year. Yikes.

So when I was sitting around grading comp crap and feeling vaguely jealous, Dr Does Everything was sat down by hir chair and told that while they saved hir position from layoffs this year, zie would be vulnerable to layoffs the following year and also obviously up a creek if they just shut down everything. And so Does Everything went back out on the market (and landed quite a few interviews at MLA, too).

Anybody else I would be worried on their behalf, but Dr Does Everything has always done everything. Hir work ethic and productivity levels are amazing and on top of that zie has always done a lot of traveling and really intense participation in some time-consuming hobbies, and also works out regularly on top of that. (Now that I'm jealous of!) I should probably have named Dr Does Everything Dr Indefatigable, but actually zie does get tired and complains a lot; zie just gets everything done as well.

Enough of the gossip then. Basically, I knew Does Everything wrote a book proposal and spent MLA querying presses (and did the job market and sent out two more articles and taught 4 classes, damn!), so I emailed and suggested we form a dissertation-revising group. Radio silence. So I dusted off my article and decided that it would be a big enough chunk to chew on this semester, and started working. (Updates in a sec.) But yesterday I finally got an email back from Does Everything (explaining the above story) and zie really wants to do a revising group. And zie promised a press that zie would send them a complete manuscript by March! Dude.

Now I am torn. Do I drop the article to work on the book project again? If I can draft off Does Everything's momentum and energy levels (you know, like a race car) and actually get my manuscript all worked up, how awesome would that be? Maybe Dr Does Everything's drive and anxiety and deadlines are just what I need to really work harder than I usually do!

On the other hand, I thought a lot about my article. And today I even wrote on it! (A smidge over one double spaced typed page, but it wasn't really complete sentences by the end. And it's crap. But a page of crap that can eventually be boiled down to a solid well-written paragraph is a pretty good start to get back in the swing of things!) So dropping that to go back to the diss manuscript sounds like I would be losing time and momentum. Hmm. And I just know me; I cannot do teaching and the article and the diss manuscript ---- you would not believe how tired I was again after my 3-hour class; in fact I worked for about an hour and a half and then had to lie down and take a long nap this morning! (I may have to rearrange my writing schedule then I guess. And I need to go back and make up that time.)

Maybe I should make a new proposal saying I would do my article and zie would do hir book, but then we lose the advantage of both of us fumbling through the same process together, as neither of us has revised a dissertation into a book before. Hmm, decisions. I'm not good at committing to decisions. Unless it's about toast. Mmmmm, toast.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Aww hells yeah

You might think this is going to be the story of how, when you see something online or in the store and you really like it, you should buy it right away, because the moral of that story is if you wait for it to go on sale it will sell out or at least sell out in your size, but no! The moral of this story is that when a beautiful find goes on sale and you are heartbroken that everything in your size has sold out and you keep checking back on the web site to sigh over the "sold out" button near your size, someone might have sent one back!


All of the black ones are sold out and stayed sold out, but I had bought a much cheaper pair of black boots earlier this year, remember? So clearly, when the cherry-red boots appeared back in stock it was a sign.

Are those not amazing! Are those not fabulous? Yes, they are amazingly fabulous. They are a bit tight in the calf but I managed to get them zipped up all the way. I hope the leather will stretch a bit so it is easy to zip them and I can keep them. Because they are soooo pretty! And red! And pretty!

Yes, I have a bit of a fashion obsession here. And it's not like there's anything else exciting to report. I think I am not allowed to look at any ads or websites any more.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Butt Hurts

I don't wanna grade. I have to grade. I don't wanna grade. Hmph.

Yesterday I avoided grading by going on a hike/walk with one of the postdocs. Supposedly there was a hike guided by a park ranger at a trail not too far from Postdoc State. We were supposed to carpool but I was running late, and when I called the postdoc to say, hey wait I am still coming! zie had already driven off so's to meet the group and park ranger on time. But, while zie was on the phone with me zie made a turn and came to a small road completely covered with snow and ice. I pulled into the Postdoc parking lot at about this time and expressed my discomfort with driving on a road like that, which zie agreed. And if the roads were icy, then my shoes were not going to hack it on an icy snowy trail. Alas, we agreed. And I made the postdoc come back to the parking lot and we decided on an alternate plan.

Which was to walk around the historic downtown, which I have seen on a previous trip but the postdoc had not. So off we trundled, and looked at little art shops and walked on their sidewalks, and while we were not communing with nature or raising our cardio, at least we were out of the house.

And then I was walking incredibly carefully across this patch of ice and one of my feet slipped out from under me and I went boom! down hard right on my ass. I felt like it had been spanked. But I seemed able to move and got back up and then just had to avoid any other ice patches as the grips on my running shoes are clearly not good enough for all that. And today my butt is still a bit sore. I'm hoping I didn't break or fracture anything.

So I'm not sure about this. There are precious few places with sidewalks or places to walk around here, and it looks like I just won't be able to do the hiking trails until winter is over. And I missed going to a lot of the local historical sites of interest, which are all closed for winter, according to my guidebook. So my little "bucket list" of things to do in Postdoc City is currently un-doable. Bleah!

Another one of the postdocs has just been in a fury since coming back. "Pissed? Why am I pissed? It's snowing!" zie shouted the other night where we were all having a beer. Zie is from A Hot Place, and even less used to snow than I am. And zie used to bike everywhere in hir old city, which wasn't feasible even before we started getting snow here. So getting around, going outside, going places --- it all seems kinda put on hold until spring, which is just sucky. I want to go do things and look at things and go be with people when I am tired of being stuck inside, and while I did go there to buy my coats, the Mall is just not an option for my and the postdocs' entertainment. We'll have to figure out something. Right now, though, I just have to figure out whether I'm going to grade and drink coffee here or drive to the starbucks in the next town over.

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Brain Hurts

Wow, I'm not sure why I am so tired. I know I was exhausted after the Stripey class endurance-marathon, and I went to bed early and got up late, but I'm still feelin' it.

Or maybe I am so tired because I have been thinking, and I'm out of practice. Like when I would go a month without the spin class and then go back (speaking of, I need to get back on that track too. Ugh, that's not gonna be fun --- it has been way more than a month for that!)

You see, I looked at my schedule and decided that Friday was going to have a reading/research block scheduled in permanently in the mornings. (I had originally planned 8-11, but felt groggy when my cats awoke me at 6, and so today I did 9-12.) So I spent the morning finding and rereading all of my notes-and-quotes and drafts of that one old article I never finished, and have been trying to figure out where to go from there.

It was exhausting. I think part of it is that the article is exhausting. I'm trying to pick apart some ideas that maybe can't be picked apart, and back when I was working on it I kept getting stuck and frustrated about what to write about first, and looking over the draft material now I get that same feeling of lost-ness and impossibility and feeling like I was on the wrong track. (FYI: So and So dies because his worldview separates these inseparable ideas, making it impossible for him to actually theorize and envision the world accurately and thus survive it. And that's a large part of my argument. So I really think there is something real about this point that I can't pick apart these ideas and talk about them in a linear way.)

Anyway, I'm now back to the point of stuck-ness I was when I last looked at this article which was ... oh god I'm not sure I wanna know. Over a year ago? Hmph. I have refreshed my memory to where I am and what research I have done, and looked at all the various ways I could lead off or organize the thing, and come to the same conclusion as last time ---- that I have a lot of little interesting ideas that don't really come together in something large enough to be an article. So I am still thinking about that. And also, coming back to it after a long absence, I have decided that a lot of my more drafted stuff is not actually about the most interesting questions, and that I want to go back to some of the key themes I first had when this was a conference paper. I may go back and re-use stuff from that draft later and work it in, but I think that I need to start this go with a fresh sheet of paper and a consistent voice ---- the voice of me now, not me and my ideas from a couple years ago spliced with the new ideas and style of me today. So I picked a new place to start with and started a little writing.

So I'm both tired and excited about the whole thing. I feel I really need to get on this and show I have been doing something (since job applicating and teaching are invisible in the cv world), and it is definitely fun to get back to research and thinking after all that teaching. Yes, I may be grading all weekend over the semester, but I don't have to prep for tomorrow (yay!), so Friday is my research day.

So how to schedule this out? Could I have a draft by the end of the semester? I have no clue how much time classes will take once we're really in the thick of things. If I could write a page a day, like I was doing when dissertating, I could finish a draft in a month. But that was when I was doing nothing but dissertating, or maybe TAing one class. But if I wrote a page a day and only wrote those on Fridays, we are talking about a month of Fridays here. Hmm, how would that work out? Let's look. Ok, so that would be 16 pages by the end of the semester. Gah! That's only half of an article. Hmm. It looks like I may need to schedule more writing time in the week --- no, that I definitely need to schedule more time in --- but I don't know yet if/where I can really do that.

Hmm. Well, this looks nice and concrete and do-able: one article draft over one semester. Step 1 is to pick away more at that outline and thinking it through, and step 2 is to go back to the weekly schedule and figure out where I am going to carve out more time for writing. Two pages a week, that's all I ask!

Now if I only knew how to paste this html code into the sidebar over there, I could keep track of things with a shiny thing. Hmm.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

All Cozied In

Ok, I have gone out and done laundry and gotten groceries and gas and catfood and litter, and cooked up a lot of lovely food, and I should be all stocked up for anything. Anything except going crazy from not leaving the house, I suppose. But it feels good at least for now. I am all ready to settle in for my long winter's nap.

Except I am not supposed to be napping, am I? I've gotta go, go, go! There are hardly any jobs to apply for at the moment, but I should apply for them anyway. I missed a whole nother pile that i had printed out over break. Sigh. It's just hard to stay on top of all that when you have promised yourself it is time to relax and watch trashy tv. And I did get my syllabi and most of my assignments written up, so that should count for something!

I also need to figure out a research plan and schedule. Currently, my to do list includes contemplating a research plan. I'm not even to the making the plan stage yet. But I will continue to make forward progress in baby steps. I will also have to really hold myself back so that I don't just allow teaching prep --- which is a lot of re-tailoring classes I just taught last semester --- to eat all of my available time. I have already done that a little. But my office is 90 % cleaned out and reorganized, and I found stuff I want to use in my next comp session and copied that already, so, tada. One out of three classes prepped again for this week already!

Oh, and one odd thing was that I hung up a calendar in the office and then when putting assignments on it, noticed that all my dates on my syllabi were off. Dammit. Except when I came home and opened the files and checked them against ical, they were all right. Hmm. Next time I'm in there I will check the calendar itself, and possibly have to go out and buy one. Strange.

As for a research plan, I have so far looked up the dates of my conferences and potential conferences (see Love and Disdain's post about doing interdisciplinary --- or Area Studies --- stuff for a good description of my usual difficulties) and put them on the calendar. Except that calendar I printed off the web might, as you can see from my previous paragraph, be completely wrong. I am also looking at my weekly calendar and figuring out times for things in my schedule. Like actually going to yoga this semester, or doing spinning (no classes available). And I suppose if I am scheduling research time I should also schedule job-applying time. Hmm. There is also the difficulty of carting all my teaching stuff in to school ---- depending on what I am working on, I might have a lot of research stuff to schlep around too and I don't know how to fit it in my bags. See? This is why I put a day or two in to contemplate things before I actually plan things.

Also, since it is looking like I will be around here for another year, I need to start contemplating summer and fall. (I like looking ahead like that.) I have contradictory info from the postdocs about whether we can teach in the summer or not, and no one knows how much that would be. I was talking to my officemate today and zie was saying zie may leave for the summer or pack up all the stuff into storage and go live out in LA and write (which is where zie was adjuncting before this.) I don't know yet what I'll be doing, but whether or not there are any other postdocs around will make a difference. (For the first time, all of us were at the same bar at the same time and hung out on Saturday! It was good. We need to do that more regularly.)

I had such a hard time writing in an unstructured situation even when I had perfect weather and could set up lots of stuff with friends back in GradSchoolLand, and that might be even worse here, where I feel trapped by heat and mosquitoes. Then again, it might not. Still contemplating. Of course, I wonder if my advisor needs someone to watch her house this summer again...? Getting out there would be a hassle though. As you can see, there is much more contemplating to be done.

Of course, if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know there will be much more dithering about on my research plans, and then whatever plans I make I will fall short of and/or change completely, but that is just the way of things. Planitty plan plan plan. At least I have a plan all set up for snow!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I went to buy a winter coat, and got a leather jacket instead

I thought about jackets for a very long time, as you might remember, and almost missed the chance to buy some completely. Why does everyone clear out their inventory only halfway through the winter weather?

Anyway, I got an email that there was a coat clearance at Penny's and that the camel coat I linked to in my coat-question post was on sale. So I went to try it on (I'm still not sure about sizing a coat when wearing layers). Of course there were no camel-colored coats there at my store, naturally. But I walked around and fingered all the coats and read their tags to see if there were any 100 % wool coats. (there were not.)

And I kept walking past this one short leather jacket and going, sigh. Now, I know leather jackets are crap for keeping out cold --- I bought a snazzy leather trenchcoat from a thriftstore for 5 bucks so that I could pretend I was Shaft and I couldn't even wear it for winter in CA. But this one had a fuzzy fake fur lining. And I know that when I have the "oo! I love that !" reaction repeatedly about an article of clothing I should probably buy it, since most of the time I am meh.

So I put it on:

And I loved the badass 70s-rockstar shape, and noticed that with the clearance discount it was 50 bucks. I went up a size so that I'd have lots of room around my shoulders and back (you can see the sleeves are too long; maybe I'll get them hemmed) and bought that sucker.

Can you see it has all sorts of interesting rivets and vertical seaming on the front to make it snazzy? It does look better on me unzipped rather than zipped, but it still looks pretty good.

Here's the back with more seaming snazziness. I don't know if this was a total impulse buy or something that has been brewing for a while now, since I've been noticing trendy leather jackets for a few years now and thinking that they looked so cool. But because they are so trendy and fancy colored and covered with shiny stuff (those are the kind I am attracted to, like a magpie to shiny objects), I've always thought, oh, I couldn't wear that in cold weather and I couldn't wear that every day because it would have to go with a very specific type of outfit. But this one seems a bit more classic and I really really like it.

Of course that means no heavy winter coat. Or does it? I didn't like the looks of the black coats I saw, but this one caught my eye as something interesting but not too weird:

I took a bunch of pics of it and it didn't show up very well, sorry. The tag says it is a "military" coat, hence all the buttons (!) and the big greatcollar flaps. And it is a sort of cadet blue, which just drew me to it in a way that none of the other winter coats did. It is double breasted, with a belt. I'm not so sure about the belt, (do I need horizontal lines cutting across me, ever?) but I will probably leave it on to dangle artistically. I can't find a better image of it now on the JCP web site, but here is one by the same company that is kinda similar except that it is entirely different.

And since this coat was down to 80 I decided that I could buy both since together they were the same price as the coat would have been originally. Yeah, I know, I know, you're supposed to use a sale to save money, not to buy more things, but I couldn't help myself. Anyway, I am excited!

And now, since I can, I will leave you with a cat picture:

He is annoyed because my lap is full with another cat. They are so excited to have me back, we are having to do lap-sitting in shifts.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

That went worse than I expected

Or maybe about as well as could be expected, if you are cynical about that sort of thing.

What sort of thing? Well, take your pick:

- flying from sunny California to somewhere east of California through someplace that was not Atlanta but might as well have been from all the various delays, weather cancellations, mechanical troubles and missed connections. PS: Delta, you suck, putting pesto (which has nuts) on the one entree that does not already include nuts or peanuts. Must I only eat Pringles on the plane?

- Remember parking at Postdoc School? And how sucky it was the first week? Ooh, let's add some snow to that, have it partially melt, and freeze it again! Oh joy! PS: students, you suck, picking winter as the big time to jaywalk across that one street while on the phone and not looking either direction ---I thought you people were supposed to be familiar with the difficulties of braking on slush?

I foolishly thought that having later classes this time would be good, but I arrived early (8:15) so I could copy and scan things and everything was full. Full and slushy. Luckily people don't seem to understand that the parking lot next to Facilities Management is a faculty one. Unluckily it is on the far side of campus away from every single academic building. I may have to get on campus at 7:30 anyway and just have super long days.

- "Hello Dr. Cog!" You'd think having a former student call hello and give a big wave and a smile would be a good thing, wouldn't you? Especially since this student does not seem to be initiating an angry grade complaint --- perhaps the only one, or almost. But looking up to respond involves taking one's eyes off the sidewalk for precious seconds while still ambulating forward --- leading to slipping, my knee doing something weird, and then half-sliding, half-falling into something approaching the splits. But not actually doing the splits. Doing something much more awkward-looking, if possible. Hello, I appear to have sprained my dignity. That's better than I expected: I thought I had no dignity left!

- Stripey Class will officially be my nemesis this semester. It was last semester too, but in different ways. I thought I would on principle hate teaching it as a night class with remote-tv-broadcasting to the next town over, and I do. What I hadn't counted on is that multiple equipment problems and breakdowns would render my ability to hold class almost impossible, stop us three different times, and have the majority of the time wasted on watching technicians unsuccessfully work on the problems.

I have no clue how to run a GE intro course as a 3 hour seminar. And no clue how to use quizzes and group work and writing in a class where 25 of the 50 people are not physically present. But the most significant problem is that I can tell there is at least a 2-second delay, from watching myself while I lecture (which is also sucky and distracting, by the way). Seriously, it's a long time. And both my lecturing style and my pedagogy are absolutely terrible for this format --- I am quite manic and speedy and have lots of random strange hand gestures that help me think from one point to the next, and I can see my gestures significantly lagging my speech. Plus my style is to run the classroom in a fairly informal way, with lots of back-and-forth, constantly pulling words out of the students, asking little questions, cracking little jokes. Again, it's pretty manic, so it may be too fast for students (I would argue it is fast enough to interest students), but it is definitely too fast for the camera, and also only I am miked. The students have to push little microphones and hold them down while talking in order for the other classroom to hear them (same setup for both classrooms). The students don't remember this, and it hardly seems worth it (to them) for them to push the button to answer "yes" or "I agree" or "they would think this author was crazy." (In response to "what do you think people would say if the author did this?") I do a lot of pulling answers out of them, asking a student to elaborate on the one word another student said, asking them to read me a line that gives them that impression, and so on. Over in Other Town, none of the students can hear my back-and-forth, and I am too damn impatient to ask some little question and wait through 2 or 3 seconds of delay to hear if someone from Other Town is going to answer. I don't wait much in a normal class --- I use movement and facial cues to see if someone is on the verge of saying something --- and I can only see about 6 of the people in Other Town on my feedback monitor. Seriously, it's a clusterfuck all around. And I have no love for this topic or readings. Sad to say but I am counting down the weeks to be free of this class already.

- I have no beer in the house, which is a terrible oversight and clearly something that will need to be stocked for Stripey Class night (maybe it would help if I drank beer during the session?). I just tried to drink a glass of orange juice (only non-caffeine thing in the house) with my black bean chili. Mm. That was worse than I expected.

May the rest of the week only be an improvement from here!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My town, my street

I don't get why the people at MLA are so down on LA! I don't understand! Aren't all your local shopping centers lit up like this?

Why are you commenting about the 37 spotlights and the eleventy-two moving video screens? What, they remind you of, what's that, Bladerunner? Well, wasn't that set in Los Angeles? And isn't that future time supposed to be now?

Wha --- fake? You're saying the people in Los Angeles look impossibly done over and fake? What are you saying, that people in your town don't all get spray-on bronzer and Botox and long hair extensions? Don't all the women in your city look like this?

Whaddaya mean we dress funny here? Why would we wear silly things like "winter clothes" when we have no weather? Are you saying your students don't all wear this to class? Hmm, I guess even us locals don't all afford the $900 Gucci sunglasses, but you can get some great knockoffs from China down in the fashion district for way less! A giant what? Bug? Don't all sunglasses cover two thirds of your face?

I just don't understand what complaints you have. What could possibly be more normal than the Bonaventure? What's that --- Jameson? Well, I would totally have another Jameson but I've passed my 200 calorie allotment for the day --- I've got to watch my figure; my salary won't cover a full round under the knife.

Dude, what's your praaaa-blem? Chill, bra! Have a little music for inspiration and the title of my post:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year everybody!

So far, the new year is going ok for me. I hit the limit of how long I can be together with my entire family without being pissy and annoyed some time yesterday, but then people went off their separate ways and left me alone for the afternoon, so it was ok. They should be coming back over after lunch and church and working on the puzzle, a family new year's tradition. A tradition that adds a lot to my annoyance and pissiness when we work on it together. Ah well.

Otherwise I have been lounging around unshowered and in old clothes, being a lazy bum. It's nice. I have a promise from my sister that we will go out and do a bunch of her errands including returning some gifts, so I hope I won't be utterly stir crazy today. (I have no car, remember?)

I've been working on my syllabus for the new class, chipping away at it bit by bit ---- it's probably taking longer than it should because a) I can, and b) I'm working on writing up handouts for all the assignments and I don't actually want to make them. This also involves making irrevocable decisions, which as you know I tend to dither about and not want to finalize. So I've been using the most clear and awake hour or two in the morning to work on wording and questions for the assignments. Today I need to make a plan for how I want the students to facilitate discussion/do presentations/whatever, especially as there are not enough days to have one student per day unless I cut out documentaries and the library days. So now I have to decide if I want them to do multiple individual presentations or group ones. And what exactly they would be doing. Mmm, I can feel my brain turning off already, saying, eh, deal with it later.

I haven't updated anything about the other classes yet but I do have the rough start from last semester to work with, so I hope I can get everything finished and updated before classes start. I haven't gone back to finish this pile of job apps due immediately either. Fuck the job apps. I hate them.

I've really liked the new MLA schedule because I am just now getting bored and tired of my family --- everyone in my family goes back to work or to school tomorrow, having been off the week between Christmas and New Years (except my niece who doesn't go back to school until the 24th the lucky bastard!) and it has been nice being able to hang out with them all when they are all together, and not have to explain why I am flying off somewhere else instead. (the old way involved leaving when everyone was here and then coming back to sit in my parents' house alone for a week while everyone else resumed their regular work schedule). Of course, it would be better if I actually had some job prospects, (rrrr!) but it is what it is. The break would have been a lot less relaxing if I had been doing job interview prep, so ... I guess that's a good thing?

Anyway, I'm going to finish the laundry and then to stare at my syllabus some more. It sounds like my new year's resolution has been to turn my blog into a weapon of mass destruction by boring all my readers to death!