It’s July. Good grief. Oh well, at least I have six weeks left before school starts. And we finally have a stove, so we can cook normal meals again.
Same as it ever was. Although this past week I’ve been doing as much reading as memo writing and phone meetings. That makes a nice change and reminds me of why I got into this profession in the first place. It’s especially rewarding to read work by younger scholars and see how my fields of research are advancing.
But have no fear, the admin isn’t going away. Our chair just sent out next year’s operational memo and everyone is overburdened as usual. I’m grateful to be in a department with no slackers, but it would be nice to have a light year without having to go on leave. Still, our department is more fortunate than many and I’m not complaining. Much. 😉
I’m a bit bogged down in my reading, in the sense that I’m having trouble finding books where the reading experience is fully satisfying. It’s not the books, it’s me. I’m about a quarter of the way through Ironopolis by Glen James Brown and it’s very good. But it’s also reminding me of how depressing and sad the world is in some ways, and I’m burning out on that. I’ve been reading more lit fic than anything else for the past few years and while I’m enjoying and appreciating the books a great deal, they’re emotionally demanding.
To get back into the reading groove I turned to genre fiction in the form of Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series. I had DNF’d the first one years ago but this time I was prepared for the sort-of-procedural it was and I had a great time reading it. I fell into the world she created and wanted to stay in it when I finished, so I went straight to the second installment. That one I didn’t love quite as much; as Liz and Barb remarked at Goodreads, it was probably the back-to-back reading, which never works that well for me. You start seeing all the author’s trademarks and tics. And this one was even more ruminative and discursive than the first book. Still, the two novels together had the intended effect of helping me immerse myself in a fictional world.
On the watching front, we finished up Good Omens, which was great fun and very faithful to the book, and we are almost caught up with Endeavour. And, of course, there was the Women’s World Cup, which was awesome. I’m so glad the USA women won, although the Dutch goalkeeper did everything she could to prevent them. What a performance she had! It’s wonderful to see women’s soccer at the level it’s being played now. I saw a statistical comparison somewhere that placed it as equivalent to the second-tier men’s leagues, and I think that’s about right. The passing, the opening of the field, the footwork, and the power are all so much better than two decades ago. Anyone who says the women’s game isn’t good enough isn’t paying attention.
The Guardian Football Weekly has been covering the World Cup and I caught up on some of their discussions, which were insightful. I also listened to a couple of Brexitcast episodes but I’m not sure how many more of those I can take. Boris Johnson becoming PM is like Trump becoming President, except that you can see the train coming down the tracks this time.
I’ve been experimenting with using my smartphone more for incidental internet use (the opposite of what I have done for years) and keeping my computer for work and things I need to do which are next-to-impossible to do on the phone. The reason for this is that since I avoid apps as much as I can, the phone is not as good for internet timepass as the computer, so I don’t stay on it as long. In the various discussions of privacy, which are a lot more prevalent than they were before Cambridge Analytica, everyone comes back to the leakiness of apps. Even if you’re using an iPhone, which is more secure than Android phones, you’re only as secure as the apps you use, and apps are terrible for privacy. Finding an app that doesn’t ask for extraneous permissions is the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack: possible but highly unlikely. Web browsing is much less pleasant and most mobile sites do their best to redirect you to their apps, but that’s the part of the point for me: I don’t want the apps, so I get off the sites when they become too annoying.
Walking in Wales greatly increased my fitness and time spent on exercise. While I can’t walk 7 hours a day here, I’m trying to get out and walk/jog/hike several times a week. It makes me feel better both physically and mentally, and I work more efficiently when I do. The weather has been cooperating, which makes it easier.
Work, exercise, reading. Nothing out of the ordinary. With luck our new washer/dryer set will be delivered. A girl can dream, right? It’s only 10 days late at this point.