Weeknote 11

by Sunita

The rain is supposed to stop this week, the temperatures are supposed to dip a bit into the 70s, and the humidity is supposed to subside. I’ll believe it when I see it.


I am down to one major administrative task left (the memo) before I hand over the DUS role, but there are still a number of small ones. We have had more requests for summer transfer credits (getting credit in the major for classes taken elsewhere) in the last month than the last few years. Some of these are case-specific, some of them are because internships and other summer activities for students have dried up. But we have a fairly restrictive major (it’s a tradeoff of fewer total credits but fewer options on where to take them), so this is causing a bit of a headache, with lots of emails.

The university announced the first of its changes to the coming academic year. Some units will keep to the original timetable, but the majority will be starting in mid-September and finishing finals after New Year’s. The spring semester will start a week late, so there will be a break between the end of fall classes in mid-December and finals. Our usual winter break will be split into two parts, more or less. Unfortunately for me, the law school and A&S aren’t on the same timetable, which means that I have the prospect of starting one class on August 24 and ending the other in mid-January. In addition, they’re still committed to having students on campus and in class to some extent, and we won’t know the exact mix for another two months. Which means we can’t really plan classes right now unless we want to map out three strategies. I’ve had discussions with the incoming chair and we agree that it makes no sense to coordinate teaching resources and activities until we have a bit more clarity. The administration has told us they’ll give us more information no later than July 31, but that’s two months away.

I’ve said repeatedly that I’m planning to set up the classes as if they’ll be totally online, but I’m coming to realize that even that decision is affected by the range of software options available. Right now our online course management system is only integrated with two video options and no non-native chat options. There’s a possibility that we’ll have integration with other systems, but once again, this is not something that has been discussed publicly, let alone decided upon.

So I’m going to take seriously the fact that I’m paid for ten months’ work and spend the next two months doing research, writing, and getting some time off. There’s nothing I have to do that I can’t do in three to six weeks, classwise. If we get more information before July 31 I can start working on things, but I’m not going to reduce uncertainty much if the uncertainty isn’t in my control. And let’s face it, much of our stress comes from uncertainty.

In other work, my coauthor and I are figuring out revisions for the next submission of our much-rejected paper and working on a research note from another project.


We got our stereo up and running by swapping the non-working amp/tuner combo with a receiver from my office. It’s really good to have hi-fidelity audio back. In addition to vinyl, we have boxes of CDs in the garage. We’re going through them and bringing favorites back up so that they’re readily available. Streaming is convenient but the audio quality just isn’t as good, especially through proper speakers.

We watched a fun documentary made on the 20th anniversary of the SFF cult hit, Galaxy Quest. TheH and I have seen that movie many times and know a lot of the dialogue by heart. The documentary shows how much GQ belongs within the Star Trek oeuvre, and hearing the actors, directors, producers, and fans talk about how much they enjoyed making the film was great. And they talked about Alan Rickman, *sniffle*. There are also cosplayers who get really into their roles, which is some kind of meta, since GQ was about Trekkies as much as it was about Star Trek. The documentary is on Amazon Prime, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

I’m most of the way through Network Effect, the Murderbot novel that was published earlier this month. It’s fun and up to the standards of the novellas. I am also working my way through The Betrothed, which continues to add characters and plot points.


I’ve been logging my hours and mostly hitting my goals. I haven’t been using Pomodoros yet because I haven’t needed them, but if I have multiple days where I don’t make my time goal, I’ll put them back in the rotation. I haven’t managed to do my 750 words as often as I’d like, in part because I often forget. I need to find a way to make that front and center. It’s partly a question of organizing my day into blocks of time for different responsibilities. Now that admin work is mostly done it should be easier.

We tried a couple of different techniques to stabilize the sunshade and have it figured out. Now we just need sunny days to be able to use it! Most of our plants are flourishing, although the aphids seem to be attacking a couple of the rose bushes. Grrr.

I managed to ride around the neighborhood on my bike a few times, which was nice. On Memorial Day we walked to a sandwich shop that’s about a mile away and then ate in a little park between the shop and home. Even being out for an hour was worth it. We saw plenty of bicyclists and walkers (with and without dogs).


More of the same. I’m sure you all saw the photos of the Covidiots in the Lake of the Ozarks, partying away. Some of them will come back to STL and resume their normal lives, and I’d just as soon not be around them. Liz and Cleo were talking in comments to the last post about how hard it is to decide what you can and can’t do. We’re fortunate in that apart from getting food and other essentials, we don’t have to go anywhere. Yes I’m sick of staying in my neighborhood, but as long as the virus is still working its way through the population and as along as people aren’t following the guidelines, I don’t see the point of going out and about. I’d love to go to a restaurant, but it’s not worth the risk. It’s not so much that I’m hugely risk-averse, it’s more that I see the analogy as crossing a busy motorway. Yes, you can probably find a way to do it without getting hit. But do it over and over again and eventually you’ll miscalculate or get unlucky and go splat.