Weeknote 5

by Sunita

Sorry for the delayed Weeknote and the radio silence over the last few days. I’m still recovering from the flu and we drove cross-country so I was mostly offline.


I managed to do some this past week! I got out my unkillable zombie manuscript and started mapping out revisions, chapter by chapter. And they actually work. Maybe letting my brain wander around through the various options was a good idea. All that not-writing has turned into writing. Go me. I still need to finish the chapter outlines, but I will be able to keep quite a bit of what I have, which I wasn’t expecting. And the new parts are mostly things I’ve already been working on, so I don’t have as much to figure out from scratch as I originally thought.

I’m also back in meetings and admin. I am really going to pay for this semester off, I can tell already. One task is going to start this summer. Blergh. I thought I would be able to ease into old-person-colleague status and let the newly tenured, newly promoted, eager younger colleagues take over and I would just teach and do research. Ah well. Maybe next year.


I’m still reading North and South, which I’m enjoying a great deal. It’s more dramatic than I remember Cranford being, but now that I’m halfway through the romance is definitely picking up and we’ve got the impending deaths out of the way. My hold on Ali Smith’s Spring came in, so I will take a break from Gaskell and read that over the next week. It’s received some very good reviews and I’m curious to see where she goes in this seasonal installment.

In addition, spurred by an intriguing Goodreads review, I read Jarett Kobek’s latest work, Only Americans Burn in Hell. He’s the author of I Hate the Internet, which I haven’t read but now want to. OABiH is like being hit over the head with a mallet for 200+ pages, but it says a lot of things (over and over again) that I think need to be said. Kobek links consumption, surveillance, and capitalism in ways that I wish more people would pay attention to. We’re getting better with our realization that online life makes us give up a lot of privacy and control, quite apart from the cognitive effects it has on our modes of thought and interaction. But we’re still not really willing to acknowledge that the system itself is broken. We talk about the great friends we’ve made online (which is true) and the way it offers a window into the world for people who are isolated (which is also true), but we’re not really willing to confront the full individual and social costs.

I can’t decide whether to review the book on Goodreads, because (irony alert) that’s giving Amazon free content, which is part of his argument against GR and other platforms. And I’m not sure I can fully recommend it, given the mallet-to-head aspect. But I’m glad I read it.

I’ve been watching sports, mostly. The Warriors are in the NBA playoffs, the Sharks and Blues are in the NHL playoffs (the Sharks’ comeback in Game 7 was EPIC), and Liverpool is in both the Champions League semifinal and the Premier League race. Of all these I’d say the Warriors have the best chance. I don’t see Man City dropping its remaining games. It’s been an amazing duel between Man City and Liverpool, and whoever comes second should still be extremely pleased with their performance. But it’s not #1. Sigh. As for Champions League, Liverpool’s chance at the final goes through Barcelona. Yeah right. Still, an amazing year. And Virgil Van Dijk won PFA Player of the Year, so there’s that.

I’ve fallen behind on my podcasts, what with driving and not being on my own when I have lots of free listening time. I’m three episodes behind on Football Weekly, but luckily Brexitcast was off for the Easter break. I like podcasts, but I’ve realized that unless I’m exercising or commuting I just don’t have a lot of podcast-friendly time given the way I like to listen to different kinds of audio. I can do music or baseball pretty much anytime, but audiobooks and podcasts don’t work for me unless I can given them my full attention.


I’m back to list-making, and as usual it helps a lot. I picked up a new notebook (of course I did!) at an old and wonderful stationery/office supply store in San Francisco. I need to return to some form of time-logging too; I found writing down notes on each day’s time flow to be informative and useful. I’ve also gone back to using Pomodoros to structure my writing time. I don’t know if I really need them, but they keep me focused, especially if I have to have the computer open while I’m writing. If I’m in Pomodoro mode I don’t click on a tab when I’m thinking, I just keep thinking and sitting there.

We drove across the country using only our Mostly Dumbphones and it was fine. It helps that we took a familiar route, but it meant that we had to look at road signs to find coffee, food, hotels, etc. It also meant that whoever was the passenger wasn’t sitting there scrolling through their phone. The absence of staring at my phone is the biggest change since switching to the Nokia. It’s incredibly restful. And I don’t check my email all the time. Which is also restful. I text more and I’ve even had voice conversations. Mostly it’s like being back in the 20thC. In a good way.

This Week

Appointments, meetings, and a paper to finish (yes, that paper). And more writing. And there are house things to do. So kind of an odds and ends week where I really need to make sure I have lists that keep me on top of things and moving forward.