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Any advice for a migraine sufferer? It’s Wednesday, so I have a migraine. This usually lasts two days, so both Wednesday and Thursday I’m barely functioning. I’m trying to grade papers, but the student’s grades are suffering. I have a good 10-12 hours of work to do tomorrow, including running around from place to place…

9-12 presentation on campus
1-2:30 meeting at advisor’s house
3-5 meeting in neighboring city
5-6 lead discussion section
6-7:30 attend lecture
(There are also ~25 papers that need grading by Friday morning.)

All that and a migraine sounds like hell. I’m frustrated because I keep trying to do less and yet my schedule doesn’t seem to get better.


Dr. Free-Ride has a post Thanksgiving cold. I’m convinced that she’s not the only one. I frequently get sick during school breaks, weekends, or vacations. Neither Beorn nor I were sick during the break, but by Monday morning he was definitely sick and now I’m starting to feel it. Here’s my explanation for the phenomenon…During times of stress your immune system is on overdrive. When that stress lets up, your immune function drops.

Last night I watched a nature program narrated by Robin Williams about dolphins. Basically it was an hour of Robin Williams playing with both captive and wild dolphins. I’m so jealous.

Over the weekend I discovered this podcast series, created by Daryl Hannah. The topic? Looks like all things crunchy: mushrooms, green building, hemp. Again, why don’t I get to spend my life making movies about interesting, eclectic topics?

What am I doing tonight? Grading papers.

Check out this study and then add a link to your blog.

What Kind of Reader Are You?

Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You’re probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people’s grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader

Literate Good Citizen

Book Snob

Fad Reader


What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Found this quiz on What the hell is wrong with you? My results flatter me and yet give me a little impostor syndrome. I certainly aspire to be one of the literati but often feel I have missed out on reading important works of literature. It’s true that my students grammatical errors irritate me, yet I’m not really in a position to criticize since I’m constantly making small, yet simple, grammar and spelling errors. The previous sentence probably contains one or two.

The hibernation began during the thanksgiving break because of my angst about family issues. At the moment I’m very conflicted about spending time with my extended family and it’s adding to my stress levels. Additionally, I’m looking forward to the last few weeks of the quarter being miserable as usual. The end of every quarter is stressful but it seems like winter quarter is always the worst. Unlike Limon de Campo, I managed to ignore my work over the break, although this did little to relax me.

Thursday we spent with friends despite my father’s appeals to familial obligation. Friday I went bird watching with my mom. This part of the country has lots of winter wetland birds. Unfortunately, neither of us are serious bird watchers, so we went without a set of binoculars which made it difficult to see the birds. I believe ours were lost last year when Beorn’s car was stolen, but maybe they were just misplaced in the move. Saturday and Sunday Beorn and I hid out at home, trying to figure out what to do with ourselves now that we have given up WOW.

This happened only a couple of weeks ago and already Beorn is surfing gaming websites for new MMORPGs. I’m trying to encourage him to explore what real life activities he might enjoy. For example Saturday night, under Beorn’s lead, we made a huge pot of apple-persimmon chutney. There is a persimmon tree outside our house and we don’t like to eat them fresh that much. They are perfectly good, we just aren’t used to them. The chutney turned out well and we’ll probably can a bunch of it to give as gifts.

This isn’t our persimmon, but it looks similar. Isn’t it pretty? The fruit stays on the tree after the leaves have fallen. I stole the picture off of Krista’s website. Krista is my favorite female weightlifter and feminist scholar, if you haven’t ever seen her website you should check it out. She gives tons of practical down to earth advice about weightlifting and exercise. I read it whenever I’m trying to get inspired.

]Now that the break is over I’m back to being overwhelmed by grading, the writing assignments for my class, and dealing with field work (focus groups, meetings, etc.) I’m always fearful that I’ll forget some important and everyone will know what a flake I am, which will somehow ruin my career and my life. (The truth is everyone probably already knows what a flake I am.) I’m only writing a blog post to avoid grading. The sci-fi papers aren’t as bad as I expected so far. Now I have to apologize to Trillwing for being so whiny about the assignment.

I am looking forward to the end of the quarter, but these last few weeks always seem to linger. It seems that grading continues practically till Christmas, even though finals are over a week before. Between grading, finishing my own assignments and preparing for Christmas I always feel completely exausted and burnt out, which makes me a complete grinch. So I’m trying to work out a plan to relieve my stress and reduce my grinchiness. I like Chris Brogan’s idea for exchanging little holiday packages. I’m working on my package wish list.

I created a new avatar for myself because my cute little kitty photo was so small that it was difficult to even see the kitties. I’m not sure I like it though, the cartoon face is so big eyed and pouty mouthed that it doesn’t feel right to me. Her hair is doing what I wish my hair would do though. Maybe if I make a less realistic avatar I’ll be more satisfied.

In my view there are three basic strategies for creating avatars.
1. An avatar that closely resembles your own physical appearance, or your idealized physical appearance.
2. An avatar that reflects your inner self. This type of avatar doesn’t need to resemble your physical body at all, its characteristics are based solely on the inner qualities you feel you possess.
3. The third type of avatar reflects your shadow self. This is the avatar that allows you to possess all the characteristics that you think you don’t have and to act in all the ways that you wouldn’t let yourself act in real life.

My new avatar fits into the first category or maybe category one and a little of category two, which is what makes it not very satisfying. The choices given to my by the doll making website didn’t result in an avatar that closely resembles me or even an idealized version of me.

(Anyone know of published writings on avatars? I want to read up on the subject if I get a chance.)

pink scarf
Originally uploaded by breenaronan.

I always get more crafty as the holidays get closer. Knitting relaxes me as long as I have a simple pattern. It has to be rhythmic and easy to remember.

Yonmei of Feminist SF commented on the 50 most significant The Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years, 1953-2002. She cut down the list from fifty to nineteen and then added her own favorites. My knowledge of sci-fi and fantasy is very spotty, but here’s my version…
Bold: unread, Italic: on to-be-read pile

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
3. The Earthsea trilogy, Ursula K. Le Guin
4. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
5. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
6. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
7. The Caves of Steel/The Naked Sun, Isaac Asimov
8. The Discworld series, Terry Pratchett
9. The Harry Potter septology, J.K. Rowling
10. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
11. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
12. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
13. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
14. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
15. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
16. Interview with the Vampire/The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice
17. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
18. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
19. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein

I would add to the list:
Dune, Frank Herbert
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes
The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Dark Is Rising Series, Susan Cooper
The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S.Lewis
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
The Phantom Tollbooth, N. Juster
Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson and Donna Diamond
His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon, Spider Robinson

To be fair, these books are particularly significant, they are just ones that made an impression on me, most of them I read as a kid.

If you have recommendations, add your comment.

I love foxfire extensions and my new favorite is Zotero. It allows you to save the bibliographic information for books and articles directly in Foxfire. I found it by reading Geeky Mom’s blog where Mr. P posted a comment mentioning it.

I have been using Endnote to organize my bibliographies, which is great, but while it’s easy to save article information from academic databases, it’s not so easy to download books or articles found on the web.

Now if I can just figure out how to link the two together I would be in bibliographic heaven.