Monday, December 24, 2007

Holiday procrastination.

Not much going on this week. Stupid holiday parties with greasy food and lots of alcohol. Yum.

Mostly I've been biting my tongue, trying not to snap at people asking how the job search is going. What is it about holiday parties that gives otherwise shy people the courage to ask incredibly insensitive questions?

I finally lost it the other day at a friend who is visiting from out of town. Hint: I'm trying not to complain so much (at least in real life), so if I'm not talking about it, I have nothing good to say!

(If you're reading this, my apologies.)

Meanwhile, I'm in holiday procrastination mode.

I don't mean I'm procrastinating about the holiday itself. I did all my shopping and delivered most of the gifts already. (I strongly suspect they have all been opened even though it's not actually Christmas yet.)

No, I mean real procrastination. I have work to do, I really do.

The work I really want to do, I can't do until January.

The work I don't want to do... seems less appealing even than cleaning my house.

So I am prioritizing (aka procrastinating about by writing blogs) how I am going to be cleaning my house. In theory, this will make me feel better about doing the work I don't want to do, because I really hate cleaning.

Do I tackle the grout in the bathroom? Or the kitchen floor? Decisions, decisions.

I did the dishes. Then I dug out my desk from a giant pile that got moved there the last few times we had someone drop by for dinner. Mail (bills, coupons that will expire before we think about using them) and journal articles tend to accumulate on the kitchen table. Actually there are journal articles everywhere. I'm trying to file them, I swear.

Dear Mac,

I love the new Preview that came with Leopard. I will try to read papers this way instead of printing them out. Thank you for saving the trees I have been killing.




Mostly I love this place that we've been renting. But the other day I was noticing that I have a curling iron that I haven't been able to use in years, because we don't have any electrical plugs in the bathroom. And I thought, "Should I get rid of that?"

Mostly the thing that has been bugging me about the lack of job... is that the last 2+ years I keep thinking we might be moving, because either my funding will run out, or I will get promoted. It's a weird tightrope to live on. I think you're supposed to walk across it in a relatively short amount of time, but I'm literally camped there. I have a tent and everything.

So we might be moving, but we don't know when or where. So then I think, "Should I get rid of these old clothes? Should I get a suit for the mythical future interviews?"

And I think about getting rid of most of the things I own, because I figure hey, that helps if we move (keeps the cost down) OR if we're homeless (nowhere to put them anyway). Except for the old clothes. I'm going to need to those to keep warm in layers when I'm sleeping on a sewer grate.

The thing that bugs me the most is that we really are worse off than our parents.

I realized that somewhere deep down, I thought I would have, you know, an electrical plug in my bathroom by now. Not that I need to or want to curl my hair on a daily basis, I just wish I had the option to, once in a while. You know, when I have to get dressed up for lab Christmas parties, put on a polite face, and bite my tongue. At least my hair would look good, even if I have no career progress to report.

Okay moldy grout, here I come.

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At 11:48 AM, Blogger Mrs Whatsit said...

I feel your pain.

If one more person asks me when I'm graduating, I'm going to kill them. Or perhaps I will ask them when they are going to lose weight or get a boob job or take care of that unibrow.

Don't get me started on what I thought I would have by the time I reached this age. I hate this continued unsettled feeling. I want to put down some roots and do things like finally throw away the tv box because we will not be moving in a couple of years.


At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't always publish my comments so I assume you won't publish this one. Even people (like me) who are critical of you, on some level want you to succeed. Try to assume that everyone wants you to succeed, because on some level it is true! Some of the obstacles you encounter may be created by the projection of the paranoia that you feel about the world in general.
Merry Christmas (if you celebrate), and I hope that the positive attitude about others that you begin to project will help others be more helpful and concerned about you.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

Mrs Whatsit- you go, girl! I would love to see you ask someone about their unibrow problems! LOL


You want me to succeed, huh? I don't really consider condescending people to be supportive. If you think you're sending positive messages, try again.

Sometimes commenters tell me I'm naive, but even I think it's highly unlikely that all of my critics want to see me succeed!

Even if they do, that doesn't do me much good, really, since most of them are not actively helping!

Concrete suggestions or contributions are always welcome, but telling someone that they're crazy-paranoid? Not constructive. At all.

Interestingly, I've tried being 'positive' and if anything, it always got me stepped on by my colleagues who are much more paranoid than I am!

I still think that being 'positive' is overrated in a generally negative environment. My goal is to be unreactive. More like a noble gas, less like hot (smelly) air.

Like Miranda on Grey's Anatomy when she was operating on the Nazi: I'm rising above. RISING ABOVE, damnit!

At 5:30 PM, Blogger ~profgrrrrl~ said...

Sending positive vibes on things turning out as you want them (whatever that may end up being) in the new year. I know I would find the whole "am I moving or not" thing quite unsettling.

Curious about the new Preview -- what's new? What makes it better?

At 6:29 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

thanks. yeah.

it's all about the little things.

mainly i like that the default zoom is better... and the annotation tools are better. you can add actual notes, you can mark with a rectangle(!) in addition to an oval.

supposedly there are also better tools for handling images too, but i haven't used those yet.

there are mark up things too (highlight, strike through, underline) but unfortunately they don't work on the pdf articles i read all the time. maybe they don't work yet at all? still, the button is there.

probably something to do with file permissions (?) but, kind of dumb that you can't use those functions on any and all documents.

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was informative. I will stop asking friends how their job search or tenure pack preparation r paper writing is going. I've always done that, ask that is, to show that I was interested in their lives and to signify my willingness to act as a sounding board for their frustration. Also, may people like to talk about themselves, and frankly, if they are my friends, I like to hear about whats going on in their lives.

No one has ever complained about it, but now I realize that they may have just been trying to spare my feelings.

Thanks YFS. I now realize what an insensitive jerk I've been.

Happy New Year, and best of luck with things.

At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The thing that bugs me the most is that we really are worse off than our parents."

Yeah, not knowing where food is going to come from in 6 months sucks. Technically not being able to stay in the country after that sucks too.

Is not being able to get a mortgage till 35 progress?

And don't get me started on how academia make you choose between a career or a family. That's really not progress.


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