Thursday, March 14, 2019

waiting on laundry

Yeah, I did need to do laundry before I can pack. So a few random thoughts here:

* In a chain of clicking, I came across this NPR story (yes, warning: I have more thoughts on the scandal du jour).

Pull quote: "But the colleges that most excel in promoting social mobility, according to an analysis by economist Raj Chetty, aren't the Ivies — they are excellent, open-access public institutions and community colleges with large numbers of working-class students, like the City University of New York."

Hm. I teach at....well, it's not exactly open-access, but we are not highly selective, and while we're not free, we're less expensive than many schools (roughly $6K a year for in-state or Texas (we have an agreement), closer to $13K for out of state for tuition and fees). So....maybe.....maybe we're not one of the "baddies," after all?

And yeah, reading that quote made me sit up a bit straighter in my desk chair: maybe by striving to be the best teacher I can be, and to instill the skills I consider important for people going into biology/conservation/fish and wildlife type careers, maybe, maybe I am making things a little better.

Though I will also note this story is probably making a far bigger splash than it really should, partly because of class-envy but also partly because of the lurid allure of famous people being involved. As a college prof, I will tell you that for a good 90% of careers (outside of wanting to be an extremely high-powered attorney, or a politician, or a Supreme Court Judge, or the CEO of certain firms)....the school you go do doesn't matter nearly as much as the experience you get there. (Certainly in STEM, where if you do research with a faculty member, or an internship somewhere - both things smaller schools may be better at providing; I know we are). But yeah, I think maybe envy of "the elite" is part of this, and being able to hate on them. And maybe on some level being able to hate on higher ed, because there are segments of our culture that like to do that.

But anyway. I probably just need to keep on keepin' on with it, and take some satisfaction that maybe I AM (and HAVE, in the past) helped some first-gen college students wind up in careers that, if not fabulous and super-wealth-generating, are fairly secure and fairly comfortable and are maybe better than what they would have wound up with just a high school diploma.

* Though a less-positive thing found in a chain of clicking: the idea of the 'happiness pump' (warning: Good Place spoiler).

Fundamentally, a happiness pump is someone who seeks to increase happiness all around them, even if they make themselves miserable. (In the context of "The Good Place," it's someone who has figured out the "point system" and is trying to game it for eternal happiness by, well, making himself miserable on earth.... He takes it so much to the extreme as to become a walking guilt trip, with worrying over animal welfare and carbon footprints).

But, as a lifelong people-pleaser: I wonder, do I border at times on trying to be a "happiness pump." Not because I think I'm buying my way into the Good Place; in my faith system that's not a thing that can be done. But I HATE dissension enough, I hate people around me being "mad at me" (or my feeling like they are) that....yeah. I will tie myself into knots to try to prevent that.

And I wonder maybe if my periodic whining about feeling like I don't get "fussed over" enough* is that I do spend a lot of time trying to ensure other people are happy (or, at least aren't angry in my vicinity).

(*Though I also wonder if deep down I really am just kind of high-maintenance, but I'm too much of a wimp to demand "maintenance," so I walk around slightly disappointed a lot of the time)

I don't know. Being a human is difficult.

* And it's time to consider winding off some yarn. I have a from-deep-in-the-stash Round Table Yarns' "Merlin" in the colorway "Windows of the Knights" (Black background with hot pink, teal, and purple). I want it for just plain socks, but I might also look through my Ravelry library and print of a sock pattern or two and find a yarn I want to use with them. I'm also taking the Harvest cardigan to try to finish it, and the yarn and pattern for the Toft monster. And at least one of the two pair of socks in progress, and the shawl that's been my knit-and-invigilate project.

(I printed off a cabled sock pattern and a leaf-lace one, may just dig in the stash and see if I find anything cool for those. Yes, I am taking more projects than I will have time for but I find that kind of thing a comfort. And I may be stuck at my parents' house a lot if the weather turns bad)

That....might be enough. (I might take the sloth pattern, though, and decide to break my Lent "no frivolous purchases" fast and get yarn for it at Michaels, I don't know. I miss being able to shop at a Michaels, that's one chain I would like to see come here.)

And here is sockyarn, newly wound:

sockyarn no flash

Top left: Stroopwaffel socks yarn (Stroop Stroop socks on Ravelry - a free pattern). top right: yarn for leaf-lace socks. Bottom left: the Merlin yarn I mentioned, for just plain socks. And on the lower right is one of the skeins of local-to-him dyed sockyarn my brother sent me for my birthday, probably for cabled socks.

I have my packing list printed out, once the stuff in the dryer now is dry, I can go ahead and start throwing clothes in my suitcase.

I think I'll take the two shorter Sutcliff novels; they'll be easy to carry (mass-market paperbacks) and maybe a couple mysteries, and the book about the Cro-Magnons (yet another Brian Fagan book, but I kind of like his writing).

And yes, Comfort Ponies will be coming along, and probably my Clawhauser, as he also makes a good emergency pillow.

* I didn't get any embargoed posts written; it's been a very busy couple of weeks. I might, if I think of something, schedule one for midweek of spring break but I will be mostly silent from Friday afternoon until Saturday the 23rd.

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