Any day now… Friday, Jan 26 2007 

January has not been a nice month.

Note to TLU: At some point, you have to stop accepting applications to the course I run. The deadline was months past, yet you keep taking more applications. Just last week, I received more of them to assess, despite the fact that I filled the course and nobody who applied since October has had any  chance of getting an offer.

I’d really like to set fire to the applications (after removing them from their cute plastic sleeves), but unfortunately I can’t. I still have to assess them so that more than 50% of the applicants can be told they are ineligible (usually due to a low GPA). Otherwise, they are all going to apply again in December 2007, and I expect I’ll have new late and ineligible applications to deal with.

I’m still in a place where I have been hiding from blogging, for several reasons. I am struggling to get moving with work and feel like I should not waste time reading or writing on blogs (as opposed to wasting time watching TV, drinking beer, spending time with family, and sleeping). Also, most of the work issues I have been dealing with (apart from the TLU admissions process) have been unbloggable. At the moment, I have colleagues who I want to strangle, colleagues who I want to hug, and colleagues who I want to go very far away from me.

However, things must change. I am going to institute a strict regimen of work activity and a corresponding flurry of blogging activity. As my daughter would say, “Seriously.”

This will all commence after today, which is Australia Day. Happy Birthday, Australia. I’ll spend a bit longer enjoying the Hottest 100, then I’ll be gearing up for a weekend of frantic effort to get back on track.


Good vs Bad Sunday, Jan 14 2007 

The worst part of my weekend:

  • Discovering that somehow SPSS had duplicated the data from five cases and overwritten the data from five other cases in the data I’ve been analyzing since Friday. I’ve reverted to a backup, managed to reproduce the error once and then failed to reproduce it again after that. I now get to spend a Sunday evening doing all of the analyses again (I am so glad I saved the syntax files) and compare the output so I can try to find where it went wrong – then I can update the notes I’ve been taking explaining the results to the students who will be working with them.

The best part of my weekend:

  • Buying The Princess Bride on DVD for $5 and watching it with my ladies. No matter how much crap the universe dumps on me, this is the kind of thing that reminds me how lucky I am.

Abra Cadabra! Thursday, Jan 11 2007 

Hey presto, I’ve managed to make an extra week and a half disappear. Holiday time has been so relaxing that I have struggled to get back near a computer. This means that I now need to catch up on a lot of work, so I’ll blog when I am able.

A quick hello and goodbye Tuesday, Dec 26 2006 

We’ve made it through Midsummer and through Christmas Day (a Merry Christmas to those in parts of the world where it is still going on). Now today we are off to visit family, first in the nation’s capital and then in coastal New South Wales. Plenty of driving in the next few days, and then we’re back on the 30th. Best wishes to all for a safe and relaxing holiday period.

Random Bullets of Summer Solstice Fun Friday, Dec 22 2006 

It’s taking us all a while to get going this morning, so I’m just sitting around in the office and waiting for my brain to move. In the meanwhile:

  • TBH is reading Harry Potter to our little girl (6 y.o.), who shall hereafter be called Miss Serious. They have finally made it past the Goblet of Fire, which means she is finally up to a story that she has not seen in motion picture form. Throughout the other books she has become more attentive whenever it’s something that was not in the films, so the reading should be a lot more rewarding now.
  • I have been listening to music while catching up on blogs. I keep coming back to Augie March. I never tire of their music – it’s beautiful and timeless, unlike anything else I have listened to. I must have played One Crowded Hour at least five times this morning.
  • I have just installed the Scrapbook extension for Firefox, just to try it out. I’m finding the number of software options overwhelming at the moment. For any task I want to perform, there seem to be at least three options – a desktop app, an online service, and a Firefox extension. Do I want something that is a fairly powerful stand-alone app but bound to one computer (e.g., OneNote), integrated with the browser but still has data that is bound to one system (e.g., Scrapbook), or Web-based so I can access it anywhere but with a bit less power (e.g., Google Notebook)? I want it all, but the last thing I want is to have notes stored in multiple applications.
  • The thing about listening to FatBoy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” is that it creates in me an immediate need to watch the video (that’s the Bruce Dickinson dancing, baby!) I cannot put this song onto my MP3 player until I get one that plays video.
  • Christmas pudding truffles – my contribution to our Midsummer’s dinner tonight.

LiLo: Voice of her generation? Sunday, Dec 10 2006 

Apparently, Lindsay Lohan can write – at least in the sense that she has fingers and can apply them to the keypad of her Blackberry. Unfortunately, she seems to run into trouble when it comes to the thinking and spelling.

Fortunately, Heather at Go Fug Yourself has already marked the young celebrity’s work, so I don’t need to worry. However, after reading it I think I would have had to include the old stalwart comment that “clarity of expression could be improved”.

The hotness of me Wednesday, Nov 29 2006 

The air conditioning in our building has been broken for more than a month. Our department’s secretary is now CC:ing all of us on the e-mails she sends to get an explanation for why it can’t be repaired. Apparently, the delay is because the equipment is so old that parts are hard to track down. I am wondering how much longer it will be before they decide the equipment needs to be replaced – my estimate is late February.

We’re two days from the beginning of summer. It’s been stinking hot for a couple of weeks now (ever since the freak cold snap). I am looking forward to going outside into the mid-30s (Celsius) heat to head across campus for a meeting in a few minutes. And I think that as soon as that meeting is done, I’m going home, getting a cold drink and slipping into something comfortable.

This heat is beginning to drive me a little batty.

Quittin’ Time! Friday, Nov 24 2006 

Since I’m going to be working all weekend anyway, I think a leisurely Friday afternoon is in order. In one hour I’ll play golf, after which we’ll adjourn to the clubhouse for drinks and a meal at the restaurant. And I won’t feel the slightest bit guilty.

The week that (almost) was Friday, Nov 24 2006 

Okay, so Friday isn’t over yet, but I realise I haven’t blogged all week and I don’t want to fall out of the habit. However, the fact is that this has been a difficult week to find time for anything, due to factors such as:

  • Finishing dealing with the admission applications – which is at done, for the moment. Now there’s just dealing with calls from students who want to know why they did not get a place (which, in more than 95% of cases, is because their grades did not meet the standard specified on our web site).
  • Spent a couple of days dealing with and worrying about an acute crisis with one of our adult kids. I am not able to give any details, but for the moment the concern has eased, although I’m certain we have plenty to still worry about. This also reminds me that I still have a half-finished entry introducing my family – I really am a bad blogger.
  • Had the obligatory couple of meetings that we seem to schedule because we don’t have enough to do – in November we only have the end of semester, final exams, thesis marking, and a few other bits and pieces to deal with.
  • Fought with the photocopier a couple more times before giving up on duplexing, using twice as much paper as I wanted to, and returning all of my overdue books.
  • Organised electronic copies of my readings for next year’s subjects, because apparently it needed to be done urgently (i.e., the person who told me a couple of weeks ago that I wouldn’t need to do it was contacted and told that I should have done it).
  • Had a lovely dinner with good friends a couple of nights ago.
  • Drove kids around to do the things kids need to do.
  • Ate a bit, drank a bit, slept a bit.
  • etc.

So, now the weekend is in sight but the end of the week is nowhere to be seen. I have a pile of stuff left to do, including:

  • Marking the aforementioned theses (1 x PhD, 2 x Honours).
  • Organising students to complete their research projects.
  • Planning a funding application for next year – I have a meeting with a consultant next week, and was supposed to have a draft of the application completed by the end of last week (oops).
  • Trying to finish a couple of manuscripts and get them out to a journal before Christmas arrives.
  • Driving kids around to the things kids need to do.
  • Eating a bit, drinking a bit, and sleeping a bit.
  • etc.

Stay tuned, and life should become normal any minute now.

Best statement made during four hours of meetings Friday, Nov 17 2006 

“Wait, computer says ‘yes’?!”

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