Friday, April 28, 2006

Week's End Report

I CRANKED this week. Finally! Got the Beast Paper finished and shared with DC. I await feedback from her before submitting it to Prestigious Journal. Well, OK...I await her feedback, and I also need to finish the paper's conclusion! It just sort of trails off at the end at this point, but that's OK. It needed to get it the hell away from me for a week or so!

Yesterday I made a draft of my stats final exam (take-home), which is due Tuesday at Noon. I hope to finish up that puppy tomorrow during the day, if possible. On Monday, a proposal to Prestigious Research Conference is due, and I'm going to submit Beast Paper to that group. Why not? The more feedback I can get at this point, the better. Besides, it all informs the dissertation process.

I guess I was able to kick "it" up a notch this week, as I had hoped last Sunday. And I must admit, I'm feeling rather scholarly lately. It's kind of fun. Let's hope I can keep up this energy for the next month or so.

Music Ringing in my Ears

Thanks to Hugh for posting on ! LOVE it, and it's probably going to help place a soundtrack along side of my dissertation proposal-writing time this summer. Check it out when you have a chance (it's FREE).

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Working day

Here I sit on the vast south veranda of the Chesterley manse. Yep, I'm on the wooden back deck underneath my new porch umbrella we got at K-Mart. But it's quite nice & peaceful, for the most part. Before 10 AM, a neighbor who moved in yesterday started up with a chain saw on a couple of branches in their back yard. I almost went over to them and said, "Can you please live here quietly for a week before disturbing the rest of us? Thanks." But I resisted temptation. Guess I'm so careful not to disturb my neighbors, that I think others should behave the same way. Perhaps I should just stop thinking so much about that stuff?

Anyhow, I'm here on the back deck, connected wirelessly in terms of power and internet. Finally got a new laptop battery that works for more than 10 minutes, so this is good. I'm plowing through the aforementioned edits (see Friday's post) and it's going OK. Moose and Wife are on their way home from In-Laws' house, so I'm trying to get things done before their arrival, when I'll want to play with them.

We've head a few tragic deaths recently in SCT. I hate it when college students die. They're not old enough yet. Hell, I'm not old enough yet either, but I have at least 10-15 years on most of the people who died. Very sad.

In other news, I'm trying to kick "it" up a notch for my work between now and the end of the summer. Not quite sure how to describe "it" right now, but I do have a few more thoughts on the writing process that I'm working on putting into words here sometime soon.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Been a while

Lots going on lately, mostly surrounding typical end-of-semester events and such. Also, the home-life has been scheduled to the hilt. While I enjoy this enormously, it's not all that conducive to a timely completion of work. Oh well: better to lose a little sleep than to not enjoy hanging out with the family and friends.

Speaking of the family, Wife and Moose are visiting "gramamama and grampa" (Moose's words) this weekend, so Chester and I are home alone together for now. Today he's at doggie daycare while I'm away at work, meetings, and a couple of other things here & there. Am looking forward to a relatively quiet Saturday, I must admit. I plan on cleaning the home office/prison (boy it needs it) and then plowing through an edit on this @#$% pilot study paper. I considered just putting it aside for a while, but it's going to drive me nuts if I don't at least get it into a finished form and send it to Prestigious Journal for consideration. It will most likely get rejected, and then I can use the feedback to improve it more and try again (probably at Not-as-Prestigious Journal). OK by me, just lemme move on from this! Pink has offered to take a look at it next week, so there's the motivation I need.

Pink and I have started our weekly meetings once again. She's finishing up her first chapter, which is great. We both are trying to have proposals done by the end of the summer. It will be easier for her since she has a 10-month appointment with the summers off. Not the same for this 12-month boy, but oh well. Hopefully I'll get something done on the thing on a regular basis and be able to feel like I'm making some progress.

Another colleage is defending her dissertation as I type this post. Hard to believe! Am going to go over there and help her celebrate a little later on. Hard to believe people I started with are now finishing up. I feel a little bit behind, but of course I'm happy for my friends.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Third Floor

The farm house around the corner that I referred to in this post already has the frame of a brand new third floor with a completed roof on top. It's good to see. I find it remarkable how quickly this type of renovation work can be accomplished when the weather turns for the better and there are very few other major instances of wind damage around the neighborhood. It's a big contrast to the time it's taking B.Rox to renovate his New Orleans home. Everything takes forever there due to a very different new urban infrastructure which appears to be turning into almost a completely different sort of culture. We should not take for granted the fast rate at which things can be patched up here when it's all they can do in New Orleans to repair their land line phone system, for example.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Finally back on track

I hope I didn't just jinx myself by typing that.

I am back at the cafe as per my "normal" "schedule" (both terms said with the inflection of Austin Powers's Dr. Evil when he referred to his original invention, the "Laser").

This has been anything but a normal semester, though, so a little normalcy is nice...for a CHANGE. Wait, perhaps it ain't normal, then? I don't think I can wrap my brain around that very well.

Anyhow, I worked my assistantship hours this morning like the good little efficient graduate assistant that I am. Since lunch, I've plugged through the beginning of a stats assignment due in about 10 days, and now I'm prepping for a class I'm probably going to end up teaching tomorrow night (DC is attending a conference) in an area outside of my expertise. I'm mildly concerned about this, but I'm going to plug through. I feel like I've not been able to find my good "teaching legs" this semester. I guess I'm grotesquely out of practice. This makes me laugh: I'm a doc student who feels he's out of practice teaching from when he was a full-time administrator? Strange, but true. I did much more teaching when working full-time than I do now. Now I spend much of my work-time alone. Just another thing to reassure me that the doc student experience usually ends up being the entire opposite of what one might expect. Bettter just go with it, I suppose.

The cafe is way too quiet today. Perhaps people are buckling down on final projects and papers, and they wanted to focus elsewhere? More likely, the weather's too damn nice to study (finally above 60 degrees and sunny today), so I bet many others are out throwing around a Frisbee or something.

Speaking of spring, I mowed Chesterley's vast (ha!) acreage (ha!) yesterday, and I set up our deck furniture from its winter storage spot. I even got up those damn oak leaves that fell in the winter (nice) and I fertilized the front lawn (the back never needs it: lots of trees). Nice to see the table umbrella out there again. I can't wait to be able to hang out there for long periods at a time. In reflection, I was pretty darn productive on the home front last weekend, in spite of Wife being sick and my caring for Moose much of the time solo.

Alright, must stop procrastinating from prepping for this class and get it done.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Automatic Lights

I did a little home improvement task I've been wanting to do here at Chesterley for a couple of years: I installed a timer on our outside lights. One of the things I like about this neighborhood is that it's far enough out of town that it's genuinely dark. Plenty of starry nights here. There are no street lights on the winding lane leading to Chesterley's front gate (OK, winding lane my ass: it's a two-block long straight-as-an-arrow street in a suburban neighborhood). Approaching the house at night is really dark and a bit scary dark at times. I like to have things lit up out front; I just feel safer. Call me a city boy, that's OK by me. But there are many nights when I forget to turn those lights on, and the times we're out before dark and come home after dark, it would be nice to come back to a house with lights. So, there it is. All done, thanks to a little coaching from my brother-in-law who works as an electrical engineer. I managed to complete the project without frying off my body hair and burning down the stately old walls of Chesterley. Remarkable! There are a couple of pictures to prove it under the "diy" tag on my flickr site.

And while home improvements are nice, nothing academic happened today. Life happens, academics do not. Wife was sick this morning, so I was unexpectedly on Moose duty for most of the day. Not that I mind this.

There's always tomorrow for academics, assuming life can stop for a while.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Eye Hab a Code

Eye hate habig a code. By dose is all stubbed, ad I ca't breade! It's dot fair! Today id stats class, I sdeezed ad it bade a really high-pitched soud. By buddy ad I had a good laugh.

Sprig codes are the worst! I should buy stock id tissues, but that would require havig $.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Rest in Peace

The weekend wasn't so bad, in terms of how funerals tend to go. It was good to reconnect with my cousins, sister, and others in the family. Most important we spent a little time remembering our grandmother and the good family times we had. There was a little bit of Family Crap, too (Cousin Dave will understand), as all families have on some level. Most of it was expected and not very difficult to handle, so it's all part of the family experience, I suppose.

Anyhow, it's good to be home, and it's good to have a roof (see the previous post)!

That was a little too close for comfort

We were still in Chicago last night after my grandmother's funeral earlier in the day. It was probably a good thing that we weren't home here in SCT. Anyone approaching Chesterley from the south has seen this farmhouse out at the main road, and it was severely damaged in what appeared to be a tornado last night. The paper called it not a tornado, but "straight line winds." Not sure exactly what that means, but this looked like tornado damage to me & Wife. This was a three-story house, dating back to the Civil War (picture was published in SCT's local paper). We walk Chester and Moose by this place all the time - it's only about 3 blocks from us. Fortunately the current owners/residents were not hurt.

Chesterley is just fine, though the power had been out about 24 hours prior to our homecoming. It came back on around 8:30 PM. No complaints here: our place is still standing, and the efficient folks at yonder power company appeared to have done a great job restoring things.