Thursday, 31 January 2013

Day 57: Back to normal, pretty ordinary...but that's OK, thanks

Day 57 (31 Jan) Woke today to the sound of rain, soft rain, but persistent precipitation nonetheless. It's also the last day of January. That is usually the signal in the life of the ordinary academic that all the intended reading, writing and thinking of the summer break is basically over. Completed manuscripts are sent off for peer review, this year's  conference papers are planned and briefly sketched, the pile of books annotated and placed on their subject-ordered shelves...

Yeah, of course. Apparently that's what used to happen; shame I missed the golden era. Much of January has actually been taken up by paperwork and administration, consultation and meetings. Meetings about meetings to have meetings. 

More rainwater, at 6.12am
Radio programs are returning to normal too following the #bigwet. Time and motion. It is really quite surprising just how much the regularity of radio programs seeps into the subconscious when it comes to determining what part of the day one is at and what one should be doing. Some days, depending on my timetable, breakfast should be had and lunch made by the time of the 'team talk' around 5.40am; I know I have to be on the road by the time the 6.30am news starts; if I'm still listening to AM in the car, I'm running late; the return journey is nearly always the Evenings show. If Phillip Adams is bidding his farewells, and I'm still's way too late. 

Are things getting back to normal? Pretty ordinary start this morning. Found myself out watering the bonsai at 6.12am but also wondered just how much more rainwater the verandah might take, and might we not have time for it to dry out. On the radio, the AM program was talking about Bundy, it is the place that really copped it this time. I can live with the rain in the tropics in summer, I'm not sure I want us all to keep going through these weather events though. 

It's a new academic year, but it is also a continuation. Things don't seem to stop really. A day spent away writing simply means the other work piles up. I was also out of radio range today for much of the working day. That was largely due to meetings...the ones of the type I mentioned above. What passed for news today, simply passed me by (although I did catch something about a train crash in Cleveland this morning). I think there was some comment that the media will probably talk mostly about the prime minister's new glasses, but it was the media making the comment, that they shouldn't be distracted by that...some days...(>%<). Actually, I think she has taken her cue from my spec-style. There was more rain. 

Lecture thoughts, at 6.12pm
I try do get some work done in the office after the last student has gone, colleagues have left, and the security guards have locked the building. I'm starting to sense, through this project, that too often I find myself sitting at the desk at work at 6.12pm. I'm on first-name terms with our building's cleaning staff, each Thursday. This evening it was more prepping for the first lectures coming up in February. That first lecture is the most important one...that's the time you get to convince your students that there will be some worth in spending the next three months is the time to share your passion for the subject; to tell of why you've been intrigued and spent so much time on a subject. For me, that's Japan, Japanese and politics--sometimes all-in-one, sometimes across three different courses. I read a very good article about the value of good lectures easy to be 'distracted' in the quest for professional development. So often these days though, students think the first lecture is one for missing 'did I miss anything important?'...I don't even sigh anymore. 

So it is time to think about the things that February brings. It is the last stage of summer, the path towards autumn (perhaps in a metaphorical sense too). Soon, my day will be marked by hours in a timetable, a certain regularity. Things will run like clockwork. 

Late Night Live is over, the 11pm news is on. I've some reading to do before I sleep, before I wake to the 5am news...for that is the clockwork of my working life. 

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