Happy birthday, Richard!


thoughts on stuff

A handful of things I’ve been meaning to post about:

  • The HPV vaccine: I’m pissed that I can’t get it. I’m encouraging my sister to get it. Illinois, among other states, is considering making the vaccine mandatory for school-aged girls. If you’re under 26 and your insurance will cover it, get it. If you’re under 26 and you don’t have insurance, public aid will cover it in some places. HPV (a group of virii, not just one virus) is the leading cause of cervical cancer, but it can also cause all kinds of gross things, like warts and lesions that have to be frozen off. The only sure fire way to avoid HPV is by never having sex with anyone. Aside from that, well, the vaccine certainly can’t hurt.
  • Lent: Last year I gave up chocolate. This year I decided to use the 40 days to take better care of myself. That was the plan, anyway, but I got into another bike accident a few hours ago, and am pretty banged up. On the bright side, I already have an arm brace!
  • Food: On a somewhat related note, a woman in the UK is giving up supermarkets for Lent. I think it’s a really interesting idea. I just finished reading Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen, which is full of information about the food industry, as well as recommendations (and meals) for things you can do to make your own habits more sustainable. This week we made mofongo with wild mushroom sauce, along with rosemary-chile mashed potatoes, using as many organic products as possible. It was good, but mainly made me long for the farmers’ market, where we’ll be able to get organic AND locally-grown things every week.
  • Plans: SB and I decided to renew our lease today. An online friend and her partner take each end-of-lease time as an opportunity to reevaluate their relationship, deciding whether to stay together while they decide whether to stay in their apartment in Brooklyn. (They renewed for two years, by the way.) I think that’s a reasonable, if not entirely romantic, way to approach relationships – as a work in process, an ongoing evaluation. It’s scary to think about what’s going to happen in the next few months – graduation, selling my/our car(s), new jobs and potential moves – but it’s good to know that we’re facing these challenges together!

Now, off to ice my arm. UHgain.

snow day, pt 2

The University canceled classes for a second day, and this time had the foresight to cancel the night before, meaning I slept in and didn’t trudge to the building through snow up to my knees. My coworkers are going to cover the handful classes that are meeting today, and I plan to do a whole lot of nothing. It’ll be great.

Last night, after I FINALLY got home around 8, SB, Keem, El, and I trudged through the snow to the Esquire for fried food and cheap beer. It was cold and blustery, but strangely peaceful outside. In some places the drifts were up to and past my knees (I’m 5’11-ish), meaning Keem had to do a lot hopping. On our walk home, we briefly visited a totally awesome snow fort – a couple of guys were bored and decided to spend their snow day digging tunnels into the giant plowed-up piles of snow in the church parking lot. I hope it’s still there if I venture out today.

While sitting at the bar eating our fried things, we watched the bartender run outside and push a guy’s stuck car out of the plowed-in parking spot – he came back to a round of applause. These are things I love about days like today – and a huge part of why I supported running classes yesterday and today. Yes, it was lonely and cold and sucky to be there all day by myself yesterday – but I would rather be inconvenienced in order to allow 20-30 people times 7 classes attend class – many of whom are not affected by the storm at all – than cancel because we didn’t want to go out in the snow. Even the gesture of being willing to run classes makes a big difference to a lot of people, and so I’m glad we did it. The Dean said in an email last night that he’s going to share our experience with the council of deans, who are meeting with the Global Campus folks next week to make some recommendations. His email ended with “the example you set today may be more important than you know.”

So happy snow day, folks! Enjoy the winter weather if you can, and stay warm if you don’t want to go outside. I’ll hopefully be doing some of both.

Word on the street – OK, on the ‘nets – is that this is the first time since 1979 that the University has closed because of snow. I made it to work just fine despite waiting for a 20-minutes-late bus – just in time to find out that classes are canceled and non-essential staff are supposed to stay/go home.

Despite this, we’ve made the executive decision to still have classes tonight. I think I’m the only member of tech staff left in the building – only two of us made it in – and it looks like I’ll be chillin’ on the third floor until early evening, when my coworkers will relieve me. So far no instructors have canceled classes, so I may get to do the inconceivable and run 2-3 classes at once. As Linda said, “This will be a new story for LEEPlore–we ran classes during the blizzard of ’07….”

Update: Hey, we’re famous (kind of)!

I stumbled across this article this morning. It’s all about the economics of PhDs – rather, it’s about the total glut of PhDs on the market, in comparison with the relative lack of growth in demand for PhDs in tenure-track jobs. It’s not a happy thing.