Saturday, March 3, 2007


Whew- what a week! On Monday, I thought, oh maybe this would be a good week to blog about the typical goings-on of a scientist in academia. That's about all I can remember about Monday... but if I think back hard on it the week went something like this:

-worked all day like a maniac on paper that was submitted 9 months ago, after which I heard nothing for seven months, then days before Christmas "its going out for review" to which I replied, that old manuscript is last year's news and requested to rewrite it (??? what was I thinking?!?), then sought to find time between the holidays, starting a new job/life to rewrite, finally drew line in the sand... got it sent off, went home and tried to prep for class and grade exams, but instead collaped

-morning = harried exam grading and class prep then class- did a short informal "feedback" exercise that was at first nerve-wracking but then extremely helpful, an interesting outcome being that even though overall perception of actual learning was moderate, everyone would recommend the class to a friend...
-courted the idea of scoping field trip site for Thurs, but checked weather (outlook: not so good) and found out there were ZERO vehicles available from the motorpool... say wah? Zero? Field trip effectively cancelled
-instead I must have done other stuff, but I can't really recall what that may have been, and so was likely a combination of digging out from pile of crap on desk, assorted emails, trying to spend start up and the like

-submitted conference payment (shouldn't be note worthy, but conference is in China, so the default is noteworthyness= length of conference title plus the number of people in the organizing committee multplied by all the tea in China)
-went to noon seminar
-spent an hour digging through mineral drawers for a science "Event" on Sat
-spoke with a wayward senior undergrad seeking to avoid having to get a job by doing a master's degree... exerpt of conversation went like this:
Student: I couldn't really decide before, but I graduate in Aug (need to retake science class) and think I want to do a master's degree
Me: What do you want to do?
Student: Well I liked these classes and I like to be outside.
Me: What kind of rocks are you interested in?
Student: I'm not sure really, but I like to be outside.
Me: Do you like to write? Because Master's thesis have lots of pages.
Student: Well, no, but I like to be outside. This one time, I was outside, and I found a cool rock. Want to see it?
-was rescued from this conversation by an apointment to ferry samples for the "Event"
-attended info seminar on weekend science "Event", a timely two days before actual event
-an afternoon seminar

-morning class prep then class, who were mainly interested in whether or not lab would be cancelled because of "severe weather"
-Had brief chat with student who had missed getting-the-test-back day in class, got to hear about procrastination problems and how student actually anticipated scoring worse than the D- they made
-nabbed free lunch with prospective grad student visit (lure of the free lunch is irresistable to current and former graduate students... some things just never change)
-spent afternoon attempting to write activity for science "Event" while periodically ducking tornados and trying to cross-paths with visiting candidate for faculty position

-worked on writing science "Event"
-observed visiting candidate teach intro Geo class, which was most valuable as a chance to observe what intro Geo students do with themselves during class (general break down 33% note taking, 16.5% sleeping/checking out other students, 16.5% reading other non-class related materials, 33% sudoku, and 1% actually responding to instructor queries). Also experienced flash-back and Post-Traumatic Stress (complete with sweaty palms) over my experience as interviewing candidate teaching an unknown sea of intro Geo students
-managed to meet the Mr. "A'int" for lunch (though was late due to on-slaught of door-knockers that usually never happens)
-Attempted to square away activity for the "Event", somehow very little got done between students, phone calls, start-up business etc.
-attended research talk by visiting job candidate, had similar PST nausea as when watching candidate teach

-Today was the "Event" and I'm glad it is over. No major trainwrecks for the equivalent of a librarian running a little league tournament. But it took all day and I suffered a post-adrenaline crash once the results were turned in and it was all over.
-Tomorrow we look at the insides of houses we may want to buy. This marks a true transition from the hypothetical to getting into the ring. Homeownership is just a hop, skip, and mammoth debt acquisition away! Hooray!

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