Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I'll tell you what. I can't keep up with my life, that's for sure. It's not the big things that are killing me (although, yeah, now that you mention it, four research projects in one semester is at least one too many), it's the little stuff. It's been an incredibly social day, for one thing. I had coffee with Dana so we could discuss the Diana Paton book (wow, by the way. It doesn't take long to discuss a book you really like; it's much more work to try and figure what doesn't work in a book than what does), and after an hour-and-a-half of non-stop conversation with her, I ran into Chuo just as we were leaving the library. Haven't talked to Chuo since last semester, so that took me into another rapid fire conversation. Then Luke-Jim e-mailed me--another person I haven't seen since last semester. And then I ran into Martin, and we discussed the travails of being a T.A. And then I even had a short exchange with Ellen. And I also talked to Gary in the graduate office.

Who are all these people, and what do they want from me?!?!

I cranked out a draft for the first unit of my course proposal (roughly four weeks worth of lecture outlines for a course on South Asian architecture), turned that in. Wrote and re-wrote a conference proposal, sent that in this evening. Registered for that conference (it's required, I'm not that much of an optimist). Finished the last two corrections of an article I want to send out for review, realized this computer can't produce .pdf files, downloaded a .pdf maker. Made a .pdf, tried to upload it to the journal submission website, but the server refused to recognize it as a .pdf. Sent an e-mail about that. Sent an e-mail about T.A. stuff. Sent an e-mail apologizing for not turning in my annual report today, promised to turn it in tomorrow. Uploaded it to the server so I wouldn't have to remember it tomorrow. Started to answer a personal e-mail, ran out of energy (sorry, Lizzie, you're in draft mode right now). Did a load of laundry, skipped dinner.

Sent some e-mails about my fellowship for the summer/next year. And, yes, it's official, I received a FLAS Fellowship, and for many reasons, this makes me happy. If I understand this all correctly, I only need to be on campus for my language and area studies courses next year, which means my presence in Illinois will only be required from 4:00 on Monday to 5:30 on Wednesday. Also, it covers my work in India this summer, so that's all to the good. Thank you very much, FLAS awarding committee (otherwise known as "Center for Global Studies")--I appreciate it.

Played the guitar for an hour. Because I have tons of free time.

You know, I also had a class today, so it's not like I was just wandering around jabbering and e-mailing. And you know what else? I also had an hour long meeting with Valeri at the Center for Teaching Excellence. All I need to do is write my essays and then I can submit my GTC application. Talking with her is always useful because she helps me pull together the disparate threads of teaching experience into one cohesive skein of knowledge.

How many people did I talk to today? Since I usually talk one, any number above one is remarkable.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Spring break roundup:

Good things about the last week (or two):

Social stuff: Beth got back from Europe. This is good for me not only because she is good company, but because I like to eat tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch on Thursdays. Also this Thursday we had dinner with Dana and Craig (and Evie and Jonah, who charmed our socks off). Evie informed me that she is very brave, and I have to say that I agree. It is nice to occasionally escape the stupidity of academic life with people who don't give a damn about my academic progress. Catherine finally met Ayse on Friday, and although we were all tired and a couple of us were angry (see below), we had a nice talk.

Academic stuff: I was unofficially notified about a fellowship for both the summer and upcoming academic year earlier this week. If the award letter appears in hard copy, I'll say more. A bit of unofficial celebrating (and no, I don't mean that in the UIUC sense of the word "Unofficial") has been happening at our house. One side-effect of this is, even if this unofficial notification never turns into an official notification, one professor on the awards committee who didn't think much of me in the past has suddenly changed his opinion about me. Hopefully, this will work in my favor in the future.

I was officially notified that a paper I proposed for a conference was accepted. This doesn't sound like such a big deal, but it counts as an invited paper, which means more in my field. Also, it comes with round trip airfare and travel expenses attached. Now...I just have to write the paper. I should have paid more attention when I was writing the proposal.

Domestic stuff: The good news is prefaced by bad. The bad news was having our front yard hit by lightning a couple of weeks ago, frying our GFCI outlets along with our television. The good news is that I had just received a payment from an editing job I did for my advisor, so we could buy a new TV. That bad news about that is that I wanted to put it toward a new, more portable telescope. The good news about that is that Catherine got the kind of TV she really wanted but would never buy as long as our old TV worked. The goods news is that we bought and installed the TV with about 30 seconds to spare for second-round NCAA basketball. The bad news is that IU lost the game in large part due to two horrible in-bounds plays in the last few seconds of the game. Probably the other bad news is that we only buy TVs when our basketball vision is threatened. Priorities = scary.

Bad news about the last week (or two):

Social stuff: I can't think of any except that I suffered with my tomato soup for two weeks.

Academic stuff: See earlier posts about having a difficult time transitioning from instructor-of-record to T.A. Things came to a head about three hours before I was due to leave town for spring break. I've lost a lot of sleep over this problem, and I can't decide what to do at this point. Trying to just suffer silently through the semester doesn't seem to have worked.

Domestic stuff: I'd rather not talk about it. Life just seems hard sometimes.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I actually got spam today with the subject heading of "The British Library." How many people outside of academia are going to be at all interested in that subject? "The British Library of Sex," maybe, but "The British Library"? Come on.