Part of that is because I’m focused a lot on work and job stuff at the moment, and as we all know, I don’t blog about that. But here are the vagaries: I’m still teaching in the program where I’ve been teaching for the last few years, and that’s mostly good. I’ll also be teaching again at the same program where I taught last fall, and that should be fun. I picked up a little writing work for an ongoing media analysis project. I’m still trying to get the big honkin’ book published, and I have another article coming out later this year. In the meantime, I’m looking for a full-time gig with health insurance and stuff.
Looking for work is pretty much always a fairly soul-crushing experience if you give a rip what you end up doing, and it’s even more exhausting when you’re keeping up on other jobs while you’re doing it (which you have to if you’re addicted to things like food and electricity). Plus, I’m finding out that it’s a funny thing with advanced degrees: it’s still a numbers game, but instead of it being easier to get a better job with a fancy degree (which is what you’re told will happen), I’m finding it’s actually a lot harder. There are fewer near-perfect fits, employers are surprisingly inflexible about what they think you can do, and people want to put you through the ringer to see if it’s worthwhile to invest in you. The hopper has to be so much deeper and wider to yield the same result, and advanced degrees force you to specialize, not generalize. Plus, nobody will hire you for a job they think you’re overqualified for — which is a lot with a Ph.D. — because they think you’ll just leave in a month or two when you find something better. Can’t really blame ‘em for thinking that. So yeah, it’s draining. It does force one not to settle, though: the market won’t let me.
Dr. Meg will be on the air on Monday on KGNU Denver / Boulder / Nederland and at KGNU.org if you’re not in earshot. Syndication has been mentioned (and passive voice has been used). I’ll keep you posted, of course.
You have the bat and frog update below.
Lisa has been relatively close by this summer, which has been great. She’ll be around for another 5 weeks or so, and we have lots more fun to cram in before she goes home.
The thyroid deal is looking up. I found a delightful family practice in Boulder, brought my lab reports and stuff, had a brief but productive discussion with a sympathetic and fine, fine superfine physician, and walked out with a prescription for generic synthroid, which I got filled (wicked cheap!) on the way home. I already feel better, even after just a few days. I had the best dance class yesterday that I’ve had in months, in part because I didn’t feel sluggish at all. I haven’t been to the gym yet today, and I don’t even have unpleasant, depressive symptoms. I’ll probably get in a bike ride later this afternoon, which will be even better because I’ll know it’s actually going to have some sort of physiological result. Yee-haw!
Finally, the spambots seem to have declared open war on my moderation queue. I average a little over 100 pieces of spam an hour. In order to get akismet to work, I have to upgrade WordPress and install it, and I don’t have direct access to the server, so that’s taking some effort to resolve, and in the meantime, every time I log in, there are all those zillions of bits of spam (baked beans, spam, spam, spam and spam), and quite frankly, after I’ve gotten through them all, I often don’t feel like posting anymore. I’ll try to be better about that, and get the spammage fixed shortly.
I wear a lot of purple, partly because it’s one of my favorite colors, and partly because I think it’s a great color on redheads. Naturally, because one of the only girly things I ever do is accessorize, I tend to have earrings to match things I might be wearing. Here’s the thing, though: I cannot seem to hang onto a pair of purple earrings to save my life. The other colors are fine, but the purple ones just fall right out of my head and roll into alternate dimensions, one at a time. Yes, even the ones with backs. It is as if small purple earrings in my possession have entirely different gravitational rules.
So periodically, I pick up a few pairs of small, cheap purple earrings (cheap because I don’t want to have to morn them too much when they take off for the alternate dimension where they probably hang out with missing socks and possibly Andy Gibb). But perhaps because I’m just girly enough to accessorize, and not enough to know anything about fashion theory, I can’t anticipate when small purple earrings will be in season, so I can’t always find them. If I can’t find my way into the alternate universe to retrieve my small fallen comerades soon, I may have to resort to making my own replacements. Mmm, specialty tooools…
An alert reader emailed me with a question yesterday. “What about mangoes?” he asked, pointing out that I had said that slimy food was “terrible,” and that avocadoes in particular “may as well be slugs.” Okay, mangoes are kinda slick. But they’re juicy and sweet, and they have a lot more texture than avocadoes. Yes, mangoes are good.
I am indeed going to be a bat monitor for the City of Boulder. It involves hiking to a cave and checking out what the bats are up to. And yes, I am going to be a frog monitor as well! I can’t wait to get started. But I have to, because the trainings don’t start for a few months yet. I promise not to try to pet a bat. I make no such promises about the frogs.
So last week when I was sitting in the groovy KGNU studio in Boulder (a change of scenery from the Denver studio where we usually are), waiting to be Dr. Meg, the co-host was going through the PSA box, looking for public service announcements to read over the air. She passed a card to me. On the card was perhaps the coolest volunteer opportunity EVER. I applied for it instantly, and I’m going to have a phone interview tomorrow to see if I can be… A bat monitor! Yes! I would get to learn more about bats, and go out at night into the wilds of Boulder to see what various bats are up to.
Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about the prospect of being a volunteer chiroptologist. The bat, after all, is the totem animal of Team FTN, among many other significant (non-Bacardi-related) things in my life. The bat house at the National Zoo was my favorite exhibit, for example. The little vespertine critters would be flapping around in there and there’d be fruit hanging up, and they’d fly by it, leaving these little bat bites in various dangling melon pieces and stuff. Grapes were apparenty the big fave, because they were always just stems. I’d have a bat house if I lived in an area that supported mosquitos. Hell, I’d get a bat tattoo if I could figure out where to put it.
I couldn’t tell you quite why I’m so into bats. It’s probably that they’re beneficial (even if they have some PR problems), and fuzzy and cute, but also kinda weird. I look forward to the opportunity to meet some in person — and restrain myself from petting them, of course, in case they’re rabid or traveling vampires or anything.
I understand there are also openings for frog monitors.
Well, it’s like this. A lot of what I’m doing right now is working. I’m teaching two graduate courses in the program where I’ve been teaching for the last few years, as well as a new undergraduate course at a nearby small university. I think about all those a lot (and I also work on all of them a lot, because it’s a lot of prep work: two writing classes and a very new global affairs class with strong original epistemological content), and I have a lot to say about them (all positive), but as you know, I don’t blog about work, so I’ve kind of said all I can about that.
I can talk about the two articles I’m working on, both of which have their next round of revisions due in the next few days, but I think I’ve already said about as much about those as y’all care to hear. I can say that the thank-you-sir-may-I-have-another model of academia I’ve endured, lo, these many years, as well as having been a writer and editor for so long, has made me pretty thick-skinned about my work. It didn’t crush me or make me angry when editors got back to me with either requests for largish cuts or what looked like a lot of changes. Eh, I thought, none of these things messes with my ideas, and these folks are investing a lot of time and effort in making my submission perfect for their publications, so that’s actually pretty flattering. They all liked the substance a lot. I know I never would have thought about it like that 10 years ago. I would have grudgingly made the changes, and maybe even cried a little when I saw the initial comments. I would have focused a lot more on the huge list of tiny edits (that now, as an editor, I don’t think are a big deal at all) rather than the really nice praise they came with. Now I reread the praise parts, and the edits: eh [insert shrug here].
I’ve also been having a lot of saucy dreams and fantasies (and sort of a saucy life for that matter). Additionally, a joined a gym this week and have been spending a bunch of time there on the body project. Mostly it’s because getting a good amount of regular exercise makes everything else fall into place for me, but a bunch of regular exercise also tends to pump up the ol’ libido (which didn’t need the help to begin with) so most of my mental time not taken up with grading or working or whipping my articles into shape is taken up with things I am, er, hesitant to post. I’ve been thinking about setting up a side (anonymous) blog devoted exclusively to sauciness. I’ll have to decide whether I think I have the mental time and energy for yet another blog.
A few years ago, I took an inkblot test. I don’t remember exactly why. Maybe I was procrastinating and curious, or maybe I was thinking about something in particular. What I ended up doing with it, though, was using it to teach detail writing in a class that was really struggling with it. I wrote a brief account of it in January of 2005.
My results on the test called me secretive. I was pretty surprised about that, and I guess I’ve thought about it off and on since. Was I secretive? I thought I was pretty open. Recently, though, I’ve been observing how compartmentalized and decentralized I like my life to be. It’s as if each little piece is sort of its own splinter cell and they rarely interact or act in concert. I think that could be considered secretive.
Earlier today, I was involved in a conversation where differences in male and female communication were being considered, and one thing that came up a few times was the idea that women communicate verbally as part of their bonding experience. It made me think about how I mimic that behavior by volunteering personal, sometimes salacious, details of myself, when really I’m giving away surprisingly little. Nothing fits together or completes the picture — it’s just entertainment. Yes, I think that’s secretive.
More than the day that the white shoes and clothes are ritualistically put away until spring, Labor Day is a worker’s holiday. There seem to be a bunch of different accounts about how it started, but I trust PBS as a good source. If only the concessions to those upon whose backs progress and prosperity of the nation were built didn’t end there!