Saturday, 29 December 2007

Checking in

News 1: My new computer seems to have access to a wireless network (perhaps operated by someone in my building), which means I can do stuff from home. I don't mind paying for internet service, but if someone else is willing to do it for me, I'm fine with that too.

News 2: My favourite e-mail client, Mozilla Thunderbird, which I like to run off a portable memory stick so I always have my contacts and all my e-mail at once, won't run off my stick under Vista. So I may just switch to web-mail, or I might have to come up with a new solution. But whatever.

News 3: I've been keeping a low profile, both generally and webwise because I'm literally two weeks behind. To wit:

News 4: Today I finally 'finished' reading final papers. By 'finished', I mean I've read and assigned numbers to all the papers I ahve on hand. There's another two or three that never got printed, and probably another two or three which haven't reappeared since the infamous e-mail meltdown, and probably a few more that never came in in the first place. But at least they're all read.

News 5: The next step is to add up scores and add them to the spreadsheet, so that I can get grades in sometime before my students rise up and kill me. Hopefully that'll be tomorrow. Monday at the latest.

News 6: So the goals are, before the end of the year, which I take to be Monday Night:

Goal 1: Get grades calculated. At least most of them. To the degree that I can.
Goal 2: Set up next month's spectrogram, the December solution, etc. for upload on Tuesday sometime.
Goal 3: Finish writing a review that was due two weeks ago.

Anticipated goals for next week, i.e. before school starts:

Actually get grades in.
Start writing the review of the grant I need to write but at least that's not due for a couple of weeks yet.
Get set up for next term's class. Singular. Gotta love that part.
Update my Activity Report, which I have to submit to myself this year. Weird.
Go through the stack of work-related things I brought home with me, and prioritize activities therein.

But first I gotta make it to 2008. Oy.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Thursday goal setting

Goal 1. Pay for the car.

Well, it seems I've got a bad left-rear strut; three leaks in my power steering (the main gasket, the return line, and the pump itself), which I presume is the source of the screaming my car makes when I crank the wheels; a failing battery; and corroded battery terminals. All told, overnight at the garage and $1700 or so.

"Say what you want about credit cards leading people into debt, they're jolly handy when you haven't any money." (Sarah Caudwell in "The Sirens Sang of Murder")

Goal 2. Get most of my letters of recommendation written.

This is a huge goal. I should break it down. Today I plan to sort through all my current papers, prioritize my enthusiasm for student applications, and maybe, if I feel the need, set up my database where I can access they're grades and whatnot so I can draft letters. Tomorrow or Saturday I'll work on the first couple of letters and maybe the database of addresses so I can print labels. If I can get a solid draft of all the letters (or at least he ones due by Jan 1) by next week at this time, I will be very happy.

Goal 3. Get rid of the computer boxes and packaging.

I often keep stuff like this for no apparent reason, but now it's mostly taking up space in my bathroom, which for some reason is where I kicked it all the other night rather than take care of it. So it's either break it down and take it out to the garbage and recycling, as required, or at least put it all back together and stuff it in a closet.

Goal 3. Remember to sign up for Monday evening Yoga and Friday noon Yoga for next term.

Goal 4. Continue with my 10/10 strategy. Which is working for me, sort of.

Goal 5. Over and above my 10/10 strategy, and getting rid of the computer boxes, I really want to get my computer area a) cleaned and b) vaguely organized. Enough that I can take a picture of my pretty new computer and post it somewhere. Maybe here.

Goal 6. Have some serious fun somehow. Maybe see a movie (I want to see Beowulf in 3D, but I really want to see the IMAX version and for some reason it isn't scheduled here) or a new DVD. Buy a couple of books (I'm down at least one Tim Cockey, Paul Doherty, and Janet Evanovich, dunno about the old standbys like Martha Grimes and Anne Perry who are getting depressing. Really want to read the Dresden File novels by Jim Butcher, the first one of which I bought but now can't find. So

Goal 7. Not withstanding any plans to have fun, I need to find what I did with that book. There's only a couple places it can be, so if I devote a 10 or two to it, I should be able to find it. Which means I can start reading it, and take care of Goal 6 without spending any more money.

Which would be a good thing, considering Goal 1.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

New computer report:

Well, it's up and running. It took me a while to turn it on, and even longer to figure out that Vista doesn't actually shut off the computer--it mostly just hibernates it. But there you go. The foibles.

It took about four minutes to load Office 2007, which is pretty blinding fast considering a) it used to take an hour and a couple of disk swaps to do it and b) it took about two hours for the computer to unpack itself, load Vista, start Vista, set Vista, and reboot itself several times until it was happy, and settle down.

On the other hand, I can't figure out how to get Logitech's disk to finish setting up my keyboard/mouse configuration, which is too bad because the whole point was to have a programmable keyboard.

And I don't have an internet connect for this machine yet so nothing has updated and I haven't actually done anything except play a really bad round of Hearts on it. So I have to keep my laptop and my modem going for a while anyway. But it means I have a pretty new computer that I can't download anything (like iTunes) to. On the other hand, I have one heckuva nice widescreen DVD player now. If I don't mind playing through Windows Media. Which I don't really. I have no strong objection to anything that works.

But oh well. I'd better get that corner of the apartment clean. And the corner where the cable connection is, cuz I'm pretty sure that's where the new internet stuff is supposed to go. Hmm. Maybe I need a wireless network at home. Hmm.

But tomorrow is Car Day, in which I take my car in for servicing, and they tell me how many thousands of dollars it will cost to fix the two truly alarming new noises my car is making. I'm hoping it's a loose belt and some low power steering fluid. But we'll see.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Blessings in the guise of complaints

I was thinking about what to write this mid-week and realized that everything I had to say was in the form of a complaint. But I'm really very grateful for most of my life, even the rough parts could be so much rougher. I really do understand in my heart of hearts that life is so much more difficult for other people and my problems are pretty minimal. I have a roof over my head, plenty of food, good health care people trying to help me, heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. Underground parking. My life is good.

But here comes the complaining. It's just after 9pm, and I'm just getting home. I had a decent yoga practice, so I didn't get back to the office until about 6:15, and what with tidying up and shuffling papers around, I didn't get out of there until almost 7. There were a number of things I wanted to shop for on the way home.

1) A new shower curtain liner. Because my current shower curtain liner is getting gross. Did it.

2) A new humidifier. My current humidifier is sick. It thinks it's done its job when the humidistat reaches 80%. Except the humidistat across the room thinks it's still 20%. So someone is lying. And I think it's the humidifier, because I can wave my hand in front of the humidifier and it will drop from 80% to about 60%. So there's obviously some moisture or something built up in the humidifier. But it was like this all last year too, so it's time for a new humidifier.

Complaint: Didn't cuz Canadian Tire didn't have my brand (I want to keep the reservoir I have), and Home Outfitters didn't have any at all. There's an hour of my life I want back.

3) Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (a computer game from about 2 years ago that I've never had the computer power to play before). But I want the Game of the Year edition, and EBGames didn't have it. I may have to order it cuz....

... I bought a new computer on Sunday. Yes, I know. Bite me. Anyway, it's still in its box, awaiting me to finish cleaning up that corner of the house. It's a cute little Acer Aspire L100, with a tower about the size of a box of Hamburger Helper. Which is the only thing in visual range that is about the size. Comes with a 19" LCD monitor.

So 4) I bought a keyboard/mouse and speakers for the new computer.

At school I bought a license for the new Office suite, which I need to work.

So at some point I have to get this corner of the house clean, and play with my new computer. But I'm playing it cool. No rush. It's there. I'm happy.

If I manage to replace my shower curtain liner before bed tonight, I'll even be on the ball with my 10/10 commitment.

Life is good. It is. Really.