how the other half

Thursday, 17 August 2017 10:25 am
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Oh, dear, I appear to have disappeared off the face of the blogging earth again. I blame career change angst and the start of term. I am in the middle of negotiating a severely crisis-ridden change of curriculum week, characterised by advisor flakiness, administrator fail and fascinatingly political double-bookings in my curriculum change venue. (Had to close down the advice process for an afternoon to accommodate an awards ceremony featuring four consuls-general, which was somewhat surreal). I am, shall we say, a little frayed.

By way of a slightly retroactive upside, my mother was in town for the last month; she left on Saturday, alas, but it was a lovey visit, during which she made me clothes, niece-wrangled, did the washing up a lot and was otherwise her usual comfortable and comforting presence. The washing up was necessary because my weird body is at it again, I grew an extra mutant knuckle on the middle finger of my right hand and had to have it surgically removed before it achieved sufficient mass and pressure to fracture the bone. (If you have déjà vu, it's because this happened about a year ago, same finger, different spot. This one was more complicated because the cartilage tumour was partially under the tendon and the surgeon had to detach and reattach the tendon to get at it. Apparently that's a thing you can do. It necessitates two weeks in a splint, and ouch).

While Mother was here we (i.e. me and jo&stv, who are at this point pretty much her surrogate offspring) took her randomly to Riebeek Casteel, which was a lovely weekend in which Airbnb delivered spectacularly on the Some People Have Too Much Money end of the scale, something of an antidote to the weirdness of the Franschoek one. Seriously palatial: a huge, open, beautifully built house with approximately quadruple vertical volume, comfy sofas, a superb kitchen and three ensuite bedrooms. Good food and wine and company. Spectacular views. Generally good for the soul.

(That last one is the view through the front window, which is across from the stairs and above the huge, high living space. The window is amazing, the view even more so. I darkly suspect that church steeple of being Deliberately Picturesque.)
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I am generally very happy with the results of halving my anti-depressant dose, I am feeling my Sensitive Frondy Antennae connecting more and more with the world, in a good way. (Higher levels of cuddling my cats, and, metaphorically at any rate, my students, in the sense that current curriculum angst levels are very high and I'm getting an unholy kick out of being sweet to the gazelles and materially improving their overall states of happy). Most of the reduced-dose side effects - headaches, insomnia - are very manageable, and are giving me hope for stopping completely in a couple of months. Less manageably, the other side effect seems to be the unleashing of some bastard into the Personal Settings menu to crank Dodgy Memory up to 11, presumably while cackling wildly and twirling the villainous moustache. (For no adequately defined reason I am ascribing the villainous moustache and bastardhood to a knob-twirler of indeterminate gender skewing more female than not, but whatever). As a result, over the last few weeks I have forgotten the following:

  1. Repeatedly, to finish annotating my Masters student's dissertation. Every time I happen upon the item in my to-do list I am shocked and horrified, and set off immediately to open the file and finish, which lasts approximately a nanosecond before I forget again and get sidetracked.
  2. Repeatedly, to reply to my mother's last email, and/or Skype her. This becomes lost somewhere between sitting down at my home computer with the thought of "Right, must email mother," and actually scrolling back to the email in question.
  3. Repeatedly, to do something - anything - with the post I picked up from Phleep's campus postbox. It's sitting on my desk at home. I should give it to Jo(ty), or open and scan and email it, but I keep catching sight of it, thinking, gosh, must do that now, and immediately forgetting about it.
  4. Despite being rather pleased and excited by the topic (Frankenstein as science fiction), to prepare my Monday lecture. I'm repeating last year's lectures, but like to re-read and tweak my notes and refurbish the Powerpoint with reference to any new movies which have come out since last year. (Age of Ultron, as it happens. Totally a Frankenstein narrative). I set aside Sunday afternoon to do this, completely blanked on it, woke up early on Monday with a sudden shocked recollection, and had to do a hack job in 20 minutes. Although I scored a round of applause at the end of it (it was the final lecture in the series), so it can't have been too bad.
  5. In a complete and total sense which is somewhat alarming, the actual context and topic of the fairy-tale paper I thought I was writing. It has a whole media studies dimension I had blanked entirely, and on which I am not authoritative in any real sense, not without considerable reading for which I do not have time. Digging out the original email to read the topic was a nasty shock. I have had to withdraw from the project, causing angst and guilt, and rendering the Vladimir Propp library expedition null and void.
  6. In a complete and total sense which caused me to unsuspectingly answer her reminder phone call with a happy sense of gosh how nice to randomly hear from you what's up?, Jo(ty)'s Mount Nelson tea party. I was looking forward to that, if only in the vaguest and most futuristic sort of way. The discovery that it was actually last Saturday and halfway over when she called, was something of a distressing blindside.

Looking back at this lot, in fact it's not entirely about memory or even procrastination, most of those are things I quite like doing - it's about fragmented attention span and tendency to sidetrack. I spent most of Saturday morning vaguely reminding myself that I hadn't seen Jo(ty) in a bit and should invite her over to dinner and a Pandora-inspection and visa-shenanigan support session, which was presumably the desperate and futile attempt of my subconscious to alert me to the tea-party thing. If I'd had the capacity to follow the thought to its logical conclusion I might have remembered. But apparently not so much. Presumably my brain chemistry is registering its disapproval at no longer having its norepinephrine and dopamine levels moderated. Given that Wellbutrin is sometimes used to treat ADHD, possibly an attention-span response to reduced levels is not unlikely.

I just hope it equalises soon. My brain is all too frequently a soft, cheesy thing, but it's mine and I need it. Also, as a Public Service Announcement: if I've undertaken to attend some sort of Social Shindig in your company in the near future, it may be wise for the nonce to send me a reminder email, as I cannot in any way guarantee that I'll remember to check my diary.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Oh, dear. I have just had to immediately apologise for telling the nice third-year student that her request for a waiver of the rule preventing a course load overload so she can graduate this year was a fucking stupid idea. It is a fucking stupid idea, but normally, when not stressed by ridiculous traffic on the way to work, an unexpected Presidential cavalcade in the middle of rush hour (causing Zimbabwe flashbacks, so not fun), a wrestle with audio-visual equipment in my lecture (although, bonus Mass Effect burbling!) and a continuous string of plaintive students for an hour and a half without surcease, I'm usually able to phrase it more tactfully. Fortunately, my Zooborns twitter feed (and [ profile] first_fallen's gratifying tendency to remind me of posts relevant to my interests if I miss them) neatly fills the "break glass for emergency wol" function. Wol babies are quite ridiculously cute. They have tree-trunk legs, and in this case an expression of "You said that. Of course you said that. Honestly." which is either deeply appropriate, or which I'm reading into it on account of expletive guilt.

In other, non-wol-related news, I have started burbling about the more randomly academic side of my life across on my own site, which is its own domain under my Real Life name. (First hit if you google my name). The posts are aimed at my students, but that's where I'll be doing any extended wittering about (currently) fan fiction, computer games and internet culture in general, and probably genre and Gothic in the second half of the year. There may be less elevated levels of blatant fangirling because professionalism, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)

If you substitute "all three weeks of my holiday" for "all night" and "brain" for "sleep", I can neither confirm nor deny the relevance of this strip. *shuffles feet*.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
... today's Daily Voice billboard headline:


Except to add that making the font <big> made me snigger. Apparently I'm eight.

On an only tangentially related note, formatting those angle brackets to show has entailed using the codes for "greater than" and "less than", which is a bit painful at the moment following yesterday's unhappy Dragon Age discovery that (as [ profile] smoczek knows all too well after hand-holding me through Excel formulae) I'm apparently incapable of distinguishing between them. This makes an astonishingly huge difference when you're setting party tactics to automatically hit the healing if your health drops to <10%. Or, as it transpires, >10%. No wonder I kept on running out of damned healing potions. Sigh. Maths, so not my strong suit.


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