Monday, October 19, 2009

October Madness

And it continues . . .

In the next 24 hours, I need to . . .
* Coordinate test accommodations for the midterm for students with learning conditions. This task would be a lot easier if my fellow TAs would answer any of my numerous e-mails asking how many students they have that need accommodations and what accommodations they need so I know how many rooms to reserve.
* Attend the class-wide review session for the class that I'm TAing.
* Field frantic e-mails from students who have questions about the midterm.
* Do laundry. I'm just about out of the essentials.
* Return a pile of overdue, unread library books.

In the next week, I need to . . .
* Read the assigned book for my African health class so I can maybe make an intelligent comment or two in discussion.
* Read a second book for the same class.
* Write a review of the second book.
* Grade midterms.
* Submit grades for freshmen and athletes.
* Attend one or more meetings about online store fronts and e-hosting.
* Catch up on the growing pile of mail for my second job.
* Write a first draft of two proposals.

By the end of the month, I need to . . .
* Finish two grant proposals and have a draft completed for a third.
* Wade through the new pile of literature I've begun to gather now that I think I may have a theory (some sort of mish-mash of complicating the encounter model, subjectivities, hegemony, and serious games).
* Lay out and send to the printer the journal that just---finally---arrived in my e-mail.
* Disentangle the database that holds the orders for the above journal.
* Make at least a significant dent in the pile of library books on my office floor.
* Figure out a topic for my archives administration paper.

Plus anything I left off from last week's list, my regular TA duties, my second job, my regular course work, . . .

This week, at the grocery store, I stocked up on frozen pizzas, heat-and-serve curries, pasta, soup, and other minimal-prep foods. I'm not even pretending that I'll cook anything until November.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When Do the Nice Men in White Coats Show Up?

For those of you with extremely busy, stressful lives of your own, I will totally understand if you skip this post. I just needed to rant while simultaneously attempting to make some sense of my life.

In the next 24 hours, I need to . . .
* Write a 1000-word book review that is worth 15% of my course grade
* Prepare to lead the class discussion on that same book
* Make a midterm study guide for the class I'm TAing
* Organize a class-wide review session for the same
* Figure out what I'm going to do in sections for that class
* Coordinate room changes and/or A/V equipment and/or video streaming for next week's sections
* Repeatedly remind the TA who is supposed to be writing the exam that she is supposed to be writing the exam

In the next week, I need to . . .
* Sort through several thousand documents, research available materials on Bancroft Camp 16, and write an appraisal report for my archives administration class
* Make some sort of sense out of the materials I've gathered from various online hosting companies so I can make a recommendation to my boss
* Relearn Chichewa so I can write to my teacher in Malawi to ask for a letter of recommendation
* Meet with my advisor to review the gazillionth version of my grant proposal

In the next month, I need to . . .
* Find a theory
* Write three more grant proposals
* Read several dozen books on media, popular culture, and Africa
* Write a prelim paper on media, popular culture, and Africa
* Grade the midterm exams
* Deal with tearful, angry, vengeful, and otherwise unpleasant students who didn't get the grades they wanted
* Write another book review
* Prepare the marketing and display materials for a table at an upcoming conference

Plus my regular courses, my TA sections, my second job, . . . .

Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday Five: Rainy Day Edition

I'm at the library and supposed to be reading for class. Instead, I thought I'd post a Friday Five.

I finally---finally!---got my netbook. I'm still getting used to the smaller format of everything. The keyboard is close to standard size, but the touchpad is tiny. And supersensitive. Also, I keep inadvertently resizing the screen. I'm not sure what action causes the screen to resize, so I can't not do it.

But the computer can actually keep up with the speed of my typing; my high-speed Internet connection is really high speed (and not rivaling dial-up); and I can type the number 4. So, yay.


TAing has been a mixed bag this week. We didn't have any readings to discuss, and I was struggling to come up with substantive discussion questions so that I wouldn't just be quizzing the students on the lecture material. So I decided to put together a game. In an effort to do something a little creative, I put together Trivial Pursuit: 277 Edition.

It failed. So very badly. More than half the students had never played Trivial Pursuit, so they didn't understand the point of the game. And going team-by-team was rather dull.

Today, I set the game up as Jeopardy! and had much better success. The students were really energetic and fun. Even in my 8.50 a.m. section.

I was feeling much better about my TA abilities, until an incident during office hours. I won't go into detail here other than to say that I showed some very poor judgment and am now beating myself up for it.


My nephew is crawling. Crawling! When I last saw him, he was just starting to be able to support his head on his own. Now, he's mobile. Ridiculous.


I have finally turned the corner on my back. The acupuncture is helping tremendously. Doing yoga and the PT exercises also helps a lot; I'm just struggling to find the time and energy to exercise. But I'm starting to back off the pain meds. I'm down to one heavy-duty dose of ibuprofen in the morning and one Vicodin at night. Yay!


This coming weekend is supposed to be cold and rainy, so I'm planning to get caught up on a bunch of work: revising my grant proposal (again), reading for prelims, and working through the pile of paperwork for my publications job.

In reality, I will probably watch the approximately 4,000 hours of the Ken Burns' documentary on National Parks; page through a pile of magazines; and eat my weight in comfort food.

I also still want to go see The September Issue, and now Whip It! is out.