Friday, November 9, 2012

It's that time of year again! (AMIW, day 5)

Time for the invitations to the Hawaii University International Conferences* to go out! I got mine this week; did you? If not, I'll share mine with you, so you can apply.

There are categories for Math, Engineering, and "Education," this last "including, but not limited to":

  • Academic Advising and Counseling
  • Art Education
  • Adult Education
  • Business Education
  • Counselor Education
  • Curriculum, Research and Development
  • Distance Education
  • Early Childhood Education/Elementary Education
  • Human Resource Development
  • Indigenous Education
  • Kinesiology & Leisure Science
  • Language Education
  • Music Education
  • Reading Education
  • Rural Education
  • Science Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Social Studies Education
  • Special Education
  • Student Affairs
  • Educational Administration
  • Educational Foundations
  • Educational Measurement and Evaluation
  • Educational Psychology
  • Education Technology
  • Education Policy and Leadership
  • Health Education
  • Higher Education
  • Teacher Education
  • Second Language Studies
  • Sociology
  • Social Science
  • Speech/Communication and Translation
  • Theatre
  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Visual Arts
  • Women's Studies
  • Inter-disciplinary and other areas of Arts and Humanities

Rarely have I seen a conference so refreshingly broad in its interests (And we should note that this ecumenical approach isn't just for humanities/social science types; math and engineering conferences are each almost as broad themselves).

Conference papers are peer-reviewed, and  "reviewers are selected among the academic members of the institute and are not related to institute academics and researchers." I'm a little fuzzy on what that means, but the word "academic" appears twice, so I assume that it's a good thing.

Also, there is a publication opportunity, open to papers accepted. You can download the papers included in last year's publication here, or buy your own CD-ROM. Last year's publication includes such diverse offerings as: an abstract/outline for a Ph.D. dissertation, a conference paper (its 11 pages uncluttered by footnotes), an article-length manuscript, complete with notes and bibliography, and a three-page paper proposal (or perhaps an introduction). There is, in other words, something for everyone.

Best of all: the registration fee is only $350!**

Admittedly, today was yet another day where I managed to get my 90 minutes in, but at the expense of everything else. Yet, if I keep working, maybe I'll have enough for a proposal. Deadline is December 1st!

*Warning: link to conference website comes complete with soundtrack of ocean waves and Hawaiian music; site contains no option to turn the sound off.

**Registration fee does not include airfare, conference hotel, food, or recreation.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

How a Day Goes (A month in writing, day 4)

6:30-7:00: Wake up/snooze alarm/meditate

7:00-7:15: Make coffee while eating... weaken and turn on the news beforehand. Am saved from getting sucked in by the fact that it is pledge week on NPR. Normally I would be annoyed. Today I am grateful.

7:15-9:00: Work on article-related notes. They go slowly, but I do get the work on.  Best of all, I resist the siren song of the internet. A sense of accomplishment swells within me. The morning light slants in beautifully and lights up the oranges to the point that I am compelled to stop and take a picture. This looks like it's going to be the perfect day, the antithesis of yesterday's mnyeh.

Then, it all goes to hell...

9:00: Begin to work on lecture, powerpoint and quiz for 11 o'clock class.

10:00: omigod I have to be in class in an hour and I'm still home, in my pajamas, and not showered!

11:00: Arrive in class (miraculously, on time) and give a bang-up lecture. If only more than half the class had bothered to show up. C'MON, FOLKS!  I've got war, famine, and plague! What more do you want from me?

12:30: procure lunch (since I ran out of time to make it)

12:30: Wolf down two-thirds of lunch while answering e-mails.

1:00: College-level committee meeting. I feel vaguely competent.

2:30: Grade quizzes from class #1. Check e-mail. Prep for class #2. Eat last third of lunch.

3:30: Class #2. Also went well. Strangely, they were not prepared for the quiz, even though a simple glance at the syllabus combined with being able to count to two (seruiously: that's all the math that was required) would have told them that this "surprise" quiz was, in fact, an inevitability today.

5:00: Grade quizzes from class two while counseling two different grad students who "just have a quick question" that turned into half an hour apiece.

6:15: Ride bike to off-campus non-work-related thingy.

6:30: Thingy, plus grocery shopping

8:00: Ride home.

8:15: Dinner. Some TV. Check e-mail again.

9:15: Realize that, though I got my 90 minutes of work on my article done, nowhere in the 12 hours since then did I find two freaking thirty-minute blocks of time in which to complete the other tasks.

9:30-10:00: Blog about that. Because everyone likes to read about self-pity. Resolve to do better, and try to realize that today, I did the best I could with the time at my disposal. But that's not very much time at all.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I know what works (A month in writing, day three)

... I just need to actually do it.

Here's what works for me:
  • Go to bed at a decent hour (before 11) so I can get up by 6:30.
  • Meditate
  • Make coffee, then go straight from there to the work that I have laid out from the night before
  • Avoid internet and news until after my work session.
If I do these things, I knock out 90 minutes easy, and still have plenty of time to shower, have breakfast, and get to work on time.

Here's what I did instead::
  • Stayed up until past midnight, waiting for election returns
  • As a consequence, overslept by an hour
  • Skipped meditation
  • While coffee was brewing, thought, "Oh, I should check to see how [critical state ballot measure] did.  Yay! I should see what the news is saying about..."
Then, suddenly, it was 9:30, and I'd gotten nothing done, but had to get to a doctor's appointment.

The good news? I got in my 90 minutes -- a little more, in fact -- reading a single 30-page article (written in Blarg, no less).

The bad news? That was all I did.

So, with that in mind, I'm logging off now, laying out my work, and going to bed with good intentions for building more good habits.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I am here. (A month in writing, day two)

I am here.  But that's about all I can say for today. I'm almost too tired to update... though if I'd done it earlier while listening to election returns, I'd be done by now.

Today was... less than optimal, in terms of writing. I can blame having to go vote first thing (and you'll be relieved to know that I voted for the Good Guys, and the right ballot measures, but against the bad ones). But the fact is that I could have done better. 45 minutes of note-taking in the morning is sub-optimal.

But, as friend told me when trying to motivate me to exercise: No matter how slow you're going, you're still lapping everyone on the couch. So I'm going to lay out my books for tomorrow and take that as my inspiration.

Being here; that is the first step. Everything proceeds from that.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A "Month"* in "Writing"**

So, as many of you undoubtedly know, this is National Novel Writing Month (popularly known as NaNoWriMo), which people have transformed into "poetry writing" and "blogging" and "digital writing" and any other damn thing. And we academics... well, we're just trying to crank out an article or a conference paper or something.

And I swear, I've been working on it, but there have been obstacles, not the least of which is that I have no idea what I'm talking about. I started over at Dame Eleanor's with a goal to get an article draft hammered out. But considering that it took me three full weeks to meet the relatively modest one-week (ha!) goal of finishing one last book on Big Background and then write 300 words on that topic, I've decided to revise my goal.

To wit: I'm chucking the damn goal, and just working.

I'm going to try to observe NaNoWriMo in my own way, by working 90 minutes a day on this project. And if that translates into me writing 500 new words, then yippee!  If it translates into me reading an article and taking two pages of notes on them (which is what I did today), then that's also good.

Most of all, I'm going to try to be accountable for each of these days, for the next four weeks (And yes, I will insert some non-writing-content in here, too.). Of course, I said something about that back in my first-ever post on this blog, then realized it was a dumb thing to say. But since no one has the authority to fire me from my own blog, what have I got to lose?

Just lay out the damn pattern and follow it.

*Not really a full month, since I'm starting five days into it.
**Not always writing new words; just working on stuff that will become writing; rebuilding my writing habit.

In Which I Adopt a Contrary Position (updated with a Very Special Link)

[UPDATE: Anticipating the reactions coming from Comrade PhysioProf and others who may occasionally find my turn into the hippy-dippy a bit gag-inducing, I promise you that I have many sides to my personality and, as proof, invite you to click here while I put on "Free to Be You and Me" for those who wish to continue reading.]

You know what I love? The end of daylight savings time.

Okay, so everybody loves that "free hour" of sleep we get once a year (though we're also acutely conscious that it's gonna get taken back in another six months). But after that, it's all bitching and moaning about how it gets dark so early.

Except for me. Because, as I've mentioned, I am a lapsed but aspiring morning person. The big problem is that my body is more and more light-sensitive when it comes to waking up early. The body only wants to wake up once the sun is coming up. And since my bedroom windows face west, this makes things difficult.

Not so this morning.  Up at 6:15, and... well, I won't say I got right to work, but it's a start.

Oooh!  You know what's also cool? I got a tiny cash windfall and bought myself something that I've been wanting a long time: a zen chimes alarm clock:

Seriously, I've been longing for this ever since my friend Dr. S. got one. Can I tell you how nice it is to wake up to? The tone is wonderful, and I can use it as a meditation timer as well. Plus, it's small enough to travel with.

Mornings just got better for me.