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just around the corner

maura @ 10:15 am

It’s almost November,* which means that it’s almost NaBloPoMo — National Blog Posting Month, a bloggy spin on National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). A quick check of my archives reveals that I’ve NaBloPoMoed every year since 2006, wowza! Through my graduate library degree, Gus’s elementary school years, my job search, and my first few years at City Tech. 148 posts in all, because while I overachieved in 2006 with 31 posts, for some reason I only managed 27 posts in 2010.

* Why is it November? I’m sure I’ve whined about this in the past, but as Jonathan pointed out yesterday, October would be so much better as it doesn’t involve the speedup to the end of the year with holiday prep and possibly travel during the month, and prep for holidays and possibly travel in the following month, too. Which is why he concluded that Halloween is the best holiday ever.

I still think joining in with others to publicly declare you’re going to get some writing done and then doing it is a good goal. But this year I really, really, really need to focus with laser-like intensity on the book, because that sucker’s not going to write itself. Lucky for me the nerds got it covered: after mulling over it for a bit, I’m going to join up with AcWriMo this November. As you can probably guess from the name, this variant is a way to get specifically academic writing and work done by committing to a goal every day.

I’m not going to set a word count goal because there’s lots of stuff we need to get done that doesn’t involve writing: pulling quotes and images, wrangling citations (oh, Chicago Author-Notes Style, how I detest you!), and probably some reading (depending on the chapter). I’m still trying to fit in daily writing but sometimes all there’s time for is a couple of pages in my journal or a blog post here or elsewhere.

Here’s my goal: (at least) 2 hours of work on the book every day, including weekends. I’ve been striving to hit that goal all semester, and while it’s easy to do on some days (e.g., the 2 days/week I’m taking 2.5 hrs of RT in the morning), I haven’t been able to consistently make it, so I feel like it’s still enough of a stretch. Not sure how I’ll publicly record it — I’ll probably start by tweeting daily and see how that goes.

And if I can do it? I hope that sets me up to keep going at that pace after November ends (possibly with a holiday prep escape clause).


where does the time go?

maura @ 10:38 pm

Between today’s parent-teacher conference + 3 hr meeting + assorted other stuff, including prepping for 4 presentations over the next 2 days, tonight’s math is this: I am too busy to blag right now. Luckily we are on the very last day of NaBloPoMo! More soon, after the math gets better. Though not sure how much better it will get since we are hurtling rapidly towards having a child who is 1 decade old, which I’m not quite ready to deal with. Oh math, sigh.

les tags:

today’s puzzle

maura @ 7:00 pm

I had a great idea for today’s post but unfortunately I can no longer execute it because one critical component does not exist anymore. So I’ll explain it to you instead.

I wanted to put two jars from our fridge side-by-side and take a picture. Both jars are glass with brass-colored lids. Both jars (used to) contain golden brown thick liquids. One was small, maybe originally a maraschino cherry jar? The other, medium-sized, and used to hold peanut butter.

The liquids looked fairly identical, and therein lay the puzzle: which was caramel sauce, and which was turkey gravy? Choose wrong, and you’ll be sorry…

(Really, it would have been better as a photo. Too bad someone was hungry for gravy today! On the other hand, I think caramel sauce would be pretty gross on leftover turkey.)

les tags: ,

be cool, stay in school

maura @ 11:09 pm

Today there was a CUNY Board of Trustees meeting, hot on the heels of last week’s meeting after which a number of students/faculty/staff were arrested as they protested the proposed rise in tuition. Not that I assumed anything else, but it was still depressing to watch the tweets roll in this evening reporting that, predictably, the tuition increase was approved. The lone no vote was from the one student member of the BoT. Not sure if anyone was arrested at Baruch (where the meeting took place) today — I hope not, and hope all of the protesters are safe.

I’m not a dummy. I know that college is expensive. Heck, isn’t everything expensive? And I know that CUNY is far, far less expensive than many most other colleges and universities. And I know that the colleges need the money from this tuition increase, which they’ve been promised to get. (As opposed to the last time tuition went up and the state used the extra funds to make up budget shortfalls in other areas. Stay classy, NY!)

While there are lots of genuinely bad things that happened in the past, things we should learn from and try never to repeat, sometimes history outshines today. CUNY once had free tuition for all students. Again, not a dummy: I know it was a different world then. And I know that there are plenty of good and deserving services and programs to spend city, state, and federal money on now.

But I also know (because I used these stats in 2 conference presentations this semester) that in 2010, 38% of CUNY undergrads lived in households earning less than $20K annually (source: Thirty-eight percent! And I also know that a college education for everyone can’t possibly be a bad thing.

So I am sad about the tuition increase at CUNY. Because even if it’s inevitable or the only feasible way to move forward, it’s not the right way.

les tags: , ,

beck beck beck and call

maura @ 9:11 pm

Well, I finished the books. All 3 of them. And as a consequence I have work to do tonight. So you get to enjoy a picture of one of our cats trying to convince us that he is not too big to sit in a small box, and I get to come back tomorrow and write a real post. Deal?


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come out, come out

maura @ 8:34 pm

I have a big long list of things I’d hoped to get done this weekend, but so far I haven’t done very many of them because over the past 36 hours I’ve read the entirety of books 1 and 2 of the Hunger Games trilogy. I’ve wanted to read them for a while now and Jonathan bought them for me a month or so ago. They are really, really good — there’s lots of post-apocalyptic dystopian future YA novels out there these days, but these books are top notch. Compelling world + characters and a plot that moves fast but not too fast, with enough twists and turns to keep things interesting.

I should have more self-control, but more likely than not I’m going to walk into the living room and pick up the third and final volume as soon as I’m finished writing this post. I have worked very very hard this semester and have read very very little that’s non-work related, which I suppose is the reason for this binge. And as far as binges go it’s certainly mild — there are few ill effects that one can suffer as a result of too much reading. But it’s still a binge, and still means that I’m essentially avoiding the other things I could be doing instead. Which will all be waiting for me when the last page is turned, right?

les tags: , ,

put yr wallets down!

maura @ 12:11 pm

It’s Buy Nothing Day, woo hoo!!!


This year the annual avoid-the-consumption-frenzy day seems even more significant, what with all of the Occupy activity this fall. BND also marks the beginning of my traditional holiday freakout, in which I try to reconcile my personal beliefs about consumption and materialism with the realities of time, space, and other people.

But that’s for later. For today there are cousins and the zoo and leftovers and togetherness and buying nothing, yippee!


i can handle it

maura @ 5:58 pm

I am utterly behind on the New Yorker, as usual, but yesterday I flipped through this week’s issue. Only to see that I am missing the reunited partial Chameleons, now touring as Chameleons Vox, playing a couple of times over the next few days in NYC + environs.

I loved loved loved the Chameleons in high school and college. Loved them. Not sure how I even learned about them in the first place — they’re British and were far less popular here than some of the other guitary mopey bands in the early-to-mid-80s. I still listen to them on occasion and they’ve held up well. Lots of layery guitars and, it occurs to me now, sort of pre-shoegazey. They’d work well on a mixtape with Lush, for sure.

They broke up in 1987 and I never saw them play live. I remember there was a farewell tour that came through Philadelphia (we lived in Delaware at the time). They were set to play at Revival, a club on South St. I was 16 and looked far too underage to even attempt to go to the show. But I pleaded with my dad ’til he agreed to chaperone me. And then I called Revival and OF COURSE they couldn’t make an exception for an underage nerd with her dad, why would you think that?

Grrrr…even as an old lady I still think 21+ shows suck.

les tags: ,

i don’t even like talking on the phone

maura @ 10:55 pm

Phoning it in again tonight. I’m tired, we have to leave for familiness tomorrow earlyish, and there’s a heck of a lot of TV to watch. So here are some random thoughts/observations:

– I taught two classes this week. I miss teaching classes.

– I’m trying to use the inbox zero email management system. Maybe I’ll write a whole post on that soon — it’s proving trickier than I’d anticipated, but also has some benefits I didn’t anticipate.

– So rainy and hot this week. I am tired of being rainy and hot.

– How do things get so dirty? Seriously, I cleaned the kitchen today and it’s fairly incredible how dirty our clean house can get. I know it’s the city and the cats, but I wish it weren’t because I love those things.

– I hate to drive in Manhattan and it makes me a little sad that highways ring the edges, but the upside is you get the gorgeous views of the city while you’re driving, which never fail to make me a bit tingly.

– Fun thing that came through my email recently: the information literacy playlist, inaugurated when someone on the ACRL information literacy instruction listserv (ILI-L) who does a college radio show asked for suggestions. (This is a repeat if you follow me on twitter, sorry!)

– Tonight Jonathan made sticky toffee pudding, which was incredibly delicious and makes up for all of the pie I won’t eat over the next few days because I don’t really like pie.

les tags: ,

what you see

maura @ 10:28 pm

Now that things are (somewhat) slower I’m trying to get back to some old, good habits, things I’d stopped doing when I was too busy or too tired. So I walked to work both yesterday and today. Today I even walked the old, preferable way, which is much more scenic and much less vehicle exhaust-y but takes between 5-10 more minutes. Which is nothing, really — barely a drop in the time bucket, practically zip in the great scheme of things. And something I should totally be doing for mental health, etc.

What I’ve missed in the past couple of months is new street/public art, which is everywhere! Photos of the stuff closest to work coming soon, but also there’s a great installation on a building on the scenic way to work. I didn’t stop to take pictures today, and anyway tonight I found much better photos than I could probably take. E.g.:


Really a cool project, and I haven’t even had a chance to walk around the entire building yet. I actually kind of adore that part of Brooklyn, that intersection of Livingston and Hoyt. True that it’s grungy and dirty and rundown and sad, plus the horrible commercial crowdedness of the Fulton St. Mall (where–UGH–xmas carols are currently being played so loud you can hear them 2 blocks away!). But there are amazing and beautiful historic buildings, and a Mexican grocery with 50 cent bags of chips for after summer-camp snacks, and lots of people people people coming and going and just trying to make it work.

Here’s an article about the artist, who sounds like a cool guy.

Image credit: sabeth718