Oct. 25th, 2011 10:55 am
What I've read so far today:
* Generation Catalano, the idea of a microgeneration of those born during the Carter administration (i.e. my birth year and the three after)
* Letters from Mister Rogers that about destroyed me with wonderfulness
* About 14 pages of my own writing, now copiously filled with notes.

I'm in the middle of making the edits to the digital copy. The pages are a reread of Chapter 6, though from the number of changes I'm making you would be forgiven for thinking it's the first pass, and the first pass through section 8.2, which I have a suspicion I may have edited electronically after printing out the copy I edited manually today. Perhaps only by adding an exercise. We shall see. I try not to get ahead of myself and do things all interleaved; it seems like that would lead to me coming back later and saying "wait, I thought I fixed that" and realizing I fixed it on paper but failed to transfer it to the file.

Today's to do list is looking really good. 8.2 is actually off of tomorrow's list, though I have an item from yesterday's that I just don't want to do so I'm procrastinating by swapping it out with later items (structured procrastination ftw!). After I get the edits done, the rest of today's list will be two meetings, office hours, and making the next online homework assignment. I may be done with all but my 4:00 meeting by 3:00, in which case I can get ahead and maybe leave early one of these days that I don't have a late afternoon meeting.

Only six more posts to a successful Blogtoberfest! They've been riveting, I know. You can hardly stand the thought of the end to daily posting.
Today is chilly. This is not a terrible thing. I tend to like winter until about March 1, when I want it to go away already. Of course, since it's not uncommon for us to have a blizzard in early April, that's a problem, but it is not a problem at this moment.

The to do list is proceeding at a good pace; three of the items have to do with the textbook, and on two of them I have done the non-computer aspects (find some more exercises and make decisions on section organizing) and just need to enact them in the file. I wrote a report of midterm standing for one of my students and gave class, which is two more items crossed off, which leaves two or maybe three more (one is a meeting with the student who is guest teaching in my class on Wednesday and Friday, which may happen today but maybe tomorrow).

So, back to weekend crafting. Friday and Saturday nights I didn't get much done - Friday I deliberately navigated to, which is never good for doing anything again the whole rest of the day, and Saturday, well, I don't remember exactly but I think I dinked around online for a while and then read Predictably Irrational, which I expect to finish this week because it is interesting and fun to read.

Yesterday was crafting day. Well, it was coffee and puzzles and dishes and tidying day too, but I sat down and looked at the projects I currently have. I divided a page into 14 sections, for the 14 weeks that start today, and figured out what I need to do to get the projects with deadlines done by their deadlines, at least at the weekly level. I am learning some things in the career counseling sessions about focus. Right now, while I have very little free time, I need to focus my efforts craftwise on the things I care most about. The complication is that I have some things that aren't my main focus, aren't the things I care most about, but that have deadlines in the near term and that I do really want to finish. The other minor complication is I would like to continue blogging twice a week, and right now I have only one post ready beyond today and Thursday's posts. That requires finishing items on a regular basis.

Why 14 weeks? Because that takes us to the end of January (aghast!), which marks the last external deadline: The Sketchbook Project.[1] To get that done on time I must complete an average of a page a week, counting the covers as individual pages (and "page" means both sides). Three pages and the cover are partially completed, but there's a lot of time involved. However, that's getting pushed off until mid-November (I will make it up over Thanksgiving and Christmas), because I have two even closer deadlines. The first is November 7 for the Feeling Stitchy book cover embroidery contest, and the second is November 19 minus shipping time for my brother's 40th birthday gift. And meanwhile, various small things so I have something to post about twice a week.

With that in mind I hopped to and did one and a half sketchbook pages (the other half was the very first one I did, so I took care of the back) and wrote the blog posts for today and Thursday. I have a schedule now for the next 14 weeks, though it will be adjusted and added to (my internal deadline items after the next couple of weeks have been entirely omitted), and hopefully it will keep me on track. After all, if I hope to make this a business some day, I had better treat it as work!

But last night, after about 45 minutes of work on my book cover, I went to trivia night at the local pub, with a couple of friends and the husband's parents. Fun and educational! :-)

[1] Interestingly, going back to that page, I see the theme I chose (stitches and folds) is no longer listed - apparently it filled up!


Oct. 21st, 2011 09:47 am
So recently I gave to the band Megan Jean and the KFB via Kickstarter (amazing band, you should look them up), and before that I was talking with my mother about Kickstarter generally. She basically kept asking "how do you know it's for real?" and "how do you guarantee you get the rewards you sign up for?" and other questions, some of which related to generic internet commerce (or any commerce where you use credit - security concerns), and some of which were specific to Kickstarter. She was not even satisfied on the security front when I told her that money changes hands through Kickstarter, not through the individual trying to raise money. It wasn't until I said it was done through Paypal (which was wrong, it's through Amazon) that she was happy. Which was a little confusing, because why should Paypal be more trustworthy than Kickstarter? Because she's heard of it, I suppose. And how do you know your rewards will actually be sent to you?

Well, I am a pretty trusting person. I have, so far, only given through Kickstarter twice, and both times were to musicians I had met personally, but I've considered giving to other projects - such as one for modular solar powered electronics and one for a card game based on Jabberwocky (until I realized it was just a lame-ified version of Crazy Eights with an unnecessarily complicated scoring system). Kickstarter's been around long enough now that I'm not worried about it. And I suppose I figure most people have easier ways to make money dishonestly than making up fake information to give to Kickstarter (since I imagine, for the sake of KS's reputation, KS makes people setting up projects contractually agree to provide their rewards, giving them legal recourse if backers complain), thinking up a fake project and fake rewards, and making a video and info page. If I'd been burned badly in the past I might feel differently, but I prefer to trust people. I am happier that way.

On a related note, I was pretty uncomfortable with the way my co-teacher and at least one of the grad students operated when we were grading - always writing, say, 04 instead of 4 so the student couldn't add a 1 to the front on a problem out of 14 points, xing out blank parts of the page so the student couldn't add work and claim it was overlooked, etc. I've never had a problem with cheating, and I don't think it's because I am naive and just missing it. I think the students can tell when you trust them and tell when you care about them as human beings and about their progress, and when that's true they aren't inclined to cheat. Besides the fact that our students in particular tend to be honest to a fault. I don't like the message it sends when they get back an exam that has clearly been treated with cheating-prevention.

How do you feel about such things?
Good morning!
I am happy to report I have already crossed two items off my list! Of course, the list is long today - there are still ten items left on it - but some of the items are brief and several are appointments, that just happen independent of my work ethic. :-)

Today I am very excited about my craft blog post. It will look familiar to those who read this blog...

Monday's craft blog post will be a sketchbook update. That was originally scheduled for today, but I neither wanted to postpone the gazebo nor put the time in to have a sketchbook update prepared for today. I'll sketchbookify over the weekend. Lately I've been crocheting monsters (Stumpy's girlfriend and designs for the mix 'n' match monsters book I'm planning to write), and actually reading. Shocking! I finished the last story in the Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine I picked up at Borders, and started Predictably Irrational, which made me get to bed late because it's so interesting. It's also Thing (#18), as a bonus.

And a report on an experiment: I had one of those excessively large bars of soap in my shower. It had started out as a massaging soap, with a nubbly surface on one side (like this), wore down into a kind of uncomfortable canoe-like shape, and finally broke in half the long way. There was still a lot of it left, and I hated to waste the nice orange smell, so one day late last week I chopped it into bits with a big knife, mixed it with water in a bowl, and zapped it. I had to do two rounds of that, mixing with a fork in between, but then I dumped it out onto plastic wrap and shaped it into a bar to cool. Now it's in the shower again, and I have to say it was a distinct success! It's a little rough - if I had been doing things properly I would have blended or food-processed the soap before wetting and heating it - and it's definitely softer because of the added water (not a bad thing), but it's cohesive and usable.

So maybe eventually I'll get into soapmaking. There could be translucent glycerine fairy soaps and solid castile monster soaps.

That is definitely a project for another time, though. For now, back to the list!



October 2011

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