Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wednesday morning things

* Still tired, still kind of bummed out at things. I suppose this is a side effect of having had to be "on" too much - the church service, running the meeting Monday night, have another meeting I have to run tonight. At least by 8 pm or so tonight I'll be done with all that for a while.

* I didn't get to go home early yesterday; I needed to write the exam (and the three versions of the take-home, as what I HOPE is an anti-cheating measure but fear just makes more work for me) for one of my classes. And as this is the take home involving computations, it takes a lot longer to write, because you mostly have to test stuff out ahead of time to make sure the numbers don't lead to an unsolvable result. (though this exam is mostly just descriptive stats, so that's a little simpler and you can usually trust that the raw data will be fine).

I try to have a little fun with it so I was doing things like searching for body-length data on Limax maximus (leopard slugs) and the body mass of bumblebees (which is really hard to find ANYTHING about, so I went with body length instead. I wonder how you would weigh a live bumblebee....)

* I commented on 'unsolvable' problems. This is one way one of my intro stats classes in grad school was an example of "if you can't be a good example, be a terrible warning" - one of the take-home exams the prof gave us had a problem on it (I *think* it was a probability problem but my memory could be wrong there) that was literally unsolvable. I think I spent about four hours laboring over it, trying different approaches. An officemate in the same class reported putting in six hours. We actually broke our "we will not consult with anyone in the class" pact to ask each other: "Could you get an answer for that one?" Finally, the prof owned up - he had done something wrong in the set up of the problem, and it was, in fact, unsolvable. (The prof in question had a lot of other problems, including enough DUIs to lose his license, and then a DUI on a bike. PROBABLY the rest of the department should have staged some kind of intervention and pushed the guy to get help, but they just wound up cutting him loose after a few years. I wonder whatever happened to him and I admit while I thought he was a lousy teacher, I feel kind of bad for the guy. [and I wonder how much of his "lousy teacher" problem was related to excessive drinking])

So as a result, I test out ANY complex calculations beforehand to be sure they will work before giving them to students on an exam because making errors in front of students embarrasses me and makes me feel terrible about myself.

* But at least the exam is done now. IF I can get my (last, yeah!) chapter evaluated and I can make time to grade some student papers that come in on Friday, I can take some free time this weekend.

* I do still knit. (I have to say that periodically). I added a bit more to the ribbing of the second sock of the Kaffe Fasset yarn socks, and then I shifted over and did more on the Spring Forward socks (which I am thinking of as "pronk" socks, because they are bright pink, like Pinkie Pie, and Pinkie Pie often "pronks" as a form of locomotion, and "pronking" is to jump straight up in the air like a

* Heard the other day that Bruce Springsteen has a book coming out. I dunno. I always feel kind of bad about myself when I hear something like that - partly because I feel like, "nothing you do lasts; everything you have done is evanescent, there is little you can point to and go, 'Look, I existed!"" and to me, a book seems like a pretty solid bit of evidence that one existed. (And yeah, I suppose I COULD write a book, except: (a) no time, (b) I have absolutely zero topics I could write on that I think anyone would care about and (c) because I'm an absolute nobody rather than someone who is Famous, I'd have to self-publish, because no matter how good the book might be, I doubt a publisher would give me the time of day, or at any rate, 'shopping' a book around would take more energy and tolerance for rejection than I have.

But still, yeah: sometimes I find myself feeling a little like Ninny in Tove Jansson's story "The Invisible Child." Not because I have some kind of "icily ironic" authority figure in my life, but I do feel the sense of turning a bit pale and fading around the edges. And in my more-embittered moods, I envision that I could be "dead in a ditch" somewhere (or "fall off the edge of the earth," if I'm being less morbid) and that the only time people would realize I was gone was when the stuff I did didn't get done, and perhaps some of them would at first assume I was merely slacking off and be angry with me.

Though unlike Ninny, I don't think I'd become a boisterous brat under Moominmamma's care. (That's the irony of the story: Ninny turns out to be as unpleasant, in my mind, as the aunt she was taken from).

(And yeah, I know: likely every famous-celebrity book has an overlooked ghostwriter behind it, but still.)

It's actually one of the fundamental bits of cognitive dissonance I live with: I believe we are put here to be useful and to serve others. And yet, it seems so often that the people who get lauded and get attention are doing things that serve themselves. Or - and I was thinking about the goofy fitness program yet again - CERTAIN people get recognition for doing things and others do not. One of the irritating things about the fitness program to me is, I've been working out regularly for over 20 years now.. But did anyone care? Does anyone care? No. They would only care if I joined a team and walked around in an official t-shirt and took part in mildly humiliating video e-mails. (Yes. I am the Fitness Hipster: I was working out before it was cool). And no, I don't really want recognition for the fact that I work out. But I DO want not to be harassed over the fact that I haven't joined an 'official team,' because I prefer to be quiet about that sort of thing and anyway my life is busy enough that working out happens at a TRULY ungodly hour when no one else is around (and I'm at home, anyway) so some people might say, if someone didn't see it, it didn't happen....

I dunno. But I do, right now, feel ever so fadey right around the edges.

Then again: some of the things people do these days to get themselves attention....I shake my head. (And I think of Milhouse Van Houten's comment of "Trouble is a form of attention!"). I don't know. I guess I want to feel like I mattered somehow, but I don't want to have to walk around flashing my underwear or something for that to happen, but the way our culture works now, it's a lot easier to be remembered for being notorious than it is to be remembered for being "good." Maybe it always was thus. 


Anonymous said...

Would a compilation of all the articles you've published be subject matter for a book? At least they prove you were "here."

CGHill said...

I've been urged to write a book, mostly by people who expect an advance galley proof at the very least.