Sunday, October 31, 2010

conference time

Back to the big yearly conference, where I am now old enough to semi-recognize people all over the place. It's a little frustrating. The one person I approached turned out to be someone I met at a workshop a few years ago. But sometimes I think I'm just being crazy.

I'm also now old enough that conferences are more like work and less like "fun with old friends." Old friends have students with them, and I'm coordinating an alumni event, and giving a talk that I barely prepared at all, etc. etc. At least there are still drinks...and free dinner paid by people in the non-academic aspects of -ology. Can't complain about that.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Let's say a job became available in a place where you would really love to live. Everything else about the other job: nature of the position, type and ranking of the institution, was almost exactly the same as your current position.

Would you apply?

Or, perhaps rephrased: is it always a bad idea to apply for other jobs pre-tenure, particularly when you're happy in your current position but wouldn't mind living somewhere else?

Thursday, October 28, 2010


The busiest part of the year, which always seem to correspond with conferences. I also find that this is when I get requests to review manuscripts, which at this early career point I feel obligated to do if there's any chance that I can make the time. So, doomed, as usual.

We recently learned that avocados can taste like pumpkin. We're making the assumption that the avocados we purchased had been stored with pumpkins...but it still seems strange that such a thick-skinned fruit would take on other flavors. Also, a note to Monsanto: avocado and pumpkin do not go well together.

I got almost 12 hours of sleep last night. It was amazing.

That is all.

Friday, October 22, 2010


One of those weeks. Those weeks when every day you collapse into your office chair at 4 pm and wonder where the hell the day went, and try desperately to get all the stupid little important crap finished before everyone leaves for the day, but fail and end up with a pile of unaccomplished little jobs by the end of the week. I hate it when I feel like I have to be in hyper-drive all the time, grading until I'm exhausted and then going to bed but so aware of the fact that I have only a few hours to sleep that I end up lying awake, then dragging myself out of bed way too early to do it again.

Sometimes I have to wonder, aren't I supposed to have time to THINK?

At least one accomplishment this week - we now have a dumpster full of construction debris, instead of a pile of debris under our deck, which is where the remains of our bathroom have been living since the summer. Partner definitely outdid himself, taking out four walls and one floor of really thick concrete and hauling it all outside. At least I was around to help him drag it down the driveway.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Tickets to Asia, I has them! Exciting! We have not previously managed expensive foreign travel - Partner hasn't been anywhere out of North America yet, and I usually am limited to stuff that is work-related. Could this be the beginning of significant change? Perhaps!

I'm also already discussing my next summer's schedule with my research team - looks like I may be abroad for at least six weeks again. I'm ok with that, really, but I'm also not opposed to taking a year off. Since it will all come down to money, this is a good place to be - not set on things happening but willing to make use of the cash if it happens to appear.

I will be going abroad for a few weeks over the winter, for sure. Luckily I may get to see a friend of mine who also works in that part of the world. Hooray for overlaps!

Exciting plans. I just have to make it through the current term. I received an email from a student this evening with an assignment attached, with ended with "hope to see you soon!" What does that mean, student? Sigh.

Friday, October 15, 2010

life goes on

Today I walked into class to find a huge "congratulations!" written on the chalkboard - somehow my students heard that I got married last weekend. Very nice of them, and proof that you really can't keep anything to yourself at a SLAC.

I've now almost made up for the time I didn't spend working last weekend, after many late nights of grading...but it was worth it. We had a blast, saw lots of people we hadn't seen in a while, and really enjoyed having most of the people we like best in this world all in one room at the same time. It's a little sad to think that we'll never experience that again.

Since then, we're back to real life, Partner is working late nights and barely making himself a presence in the house, I'm grading until 1 am, the cat hates us all. I'm already trying to figure out my schedule for next summer, and theoretically completing a draft of this grant by mid November - this will indeed be a miracle.

I've spent my evening trying to figure out whether we can really, reasonably, affordably visit a friend of mine living in Asia. I really want to make it happen - we'll see if the airline gods grant me non-outrageous airfares. It would be nice to go somewhere WITH Partner for a change!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


dear other department's seminar series:

On a day when I had no leftovers to grab and no time to make lunch, much less time to go buy lunch, and am currently starving in my office desperately prepping for my next lecture, the least you could do is avoid leaving five untouched meaty pizzas in the hallway with nothing for vegetarians to scavenge. You stink.


Friday, October 8, 2010

this is it

Wedding time!

Today we spent a lot of time with our families: uncles and aunts who haven't all been in the same place in many years, new babies, new introductions.

For the record, this whole "big wedding" thing is totally worth it just in accomplishing the above. I forget how nice it is to see everyone all at the same time.

Monday, October 4, 2010

the on-campus interview

My annoyingly endless search committee assignment, as you may have guessed, goes on...primarily due to an inability to find someone we want to hire after the person we tried to hire backed out. I get the feeling that many of these people never do that "what not to do on a campus interview" google search - and they should. Oh, they should.

I would like to just state for the record: people, we really want to be able to hire you and be done with this nonsense. You looked good on paper, or we wouldn't have invited you to campus. You were even good on the phone, or, again, you wouldn't be here. Just don't fuck it up and you may get a job. The following should not be earth-shattering suggestions, but sadly, they seem to be necessary.

- Don't get tipsy, much less drunk, even if other members of the committee may be having another beer.
- Don't focus all your attention on the perks of faculty status (the gym, the free football games, term breaks) and ask nothing at all about our students, research support, etc.
- Don't get too friendly. This includes making attempts at "hip" handshakes when we say goodbye as well as telling us too much about your personal life.
- Don't say anything that could even be misconstrued as "bashing" anyone, no matter what your opinion may be regarding the political or other leanings of this institution.
- Don't assume you have allies. You probably don't.
- If you aren't being asked to give a separate teaching demo, keep in mind that your job talk is all we have to determine how you would handle a classroom. Actions speak louder than words.

I hope the rest of you jokers on the list get your act together before you show up. I have other crap to do, people. Please let us hire you.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I was already behind on my grading due to my overload, which had a big assignment this week. Today I'm getting new papers and an exam to grade, I'm running a field trip this weekend, and I just got manuscript proofs that are due back on Monday.

Have I mentioned that I really need to get my house in order before next week? It's a disgusting pit at the moment, and I've been putting off mowing the lawn in the hopes that if I let it go until the last minute I'd only have to do it once before the wedding. The last minute may have arrived in this case (as in so many others). Whose bright idea was it to get married in the town where we live?

On the plus side, I have everything wedding-related done except program printing and centerpiece arrangement, and it looks like it will be sunny and dry on our wedding day. Assuming these longish-term weather predictions can be trusted.