Friday, May 25, 2012

15 minutes of torturous typo-editing, repeat

The only thing that remains between me and an official title of Dr. Shedding is copy-editing my dissertation.  I am tackling this in 15-minute intervals, because this is about all I can handle without dying of boredom.  I'm using a timer, and usually start checking it around the 8-minute mark.  Some people seem to have a natural gift for spotting extra spaces, repeated words, and awkward sentences.  I am not one of them, but perhaps I should look into paying one of them to do this for me in the future . . . Writing about theory and sorting through data make my brain hurt, but even if this keeps me up at night, it is not boring.  This type of editing is.*  Worse, it requires my full concentration to make sure I don't miss a paragraph that is indented .25 instead of .5 or a 2 that should be two.  Then there is the formatting, where I want to scream who the hell cares if my title is in all caps, or bold, or whatever--is anyone really going to confuse my title with my name, or my university, or anything else on that page? The dissertation formatting guidelines say these guidelines are to preserve my dissertation on microfilm.  Who on earth is going to read my dissertation on microfilm?

In my post-defense revisions, I put el-wa7sh on a content diet, and ended up removing 30 pages (I know the length because I pasted them into another document).  I added what I thought was just a bit of analysis, but somehow, el-wa7sh has gained back not only those 30 pages, but an additional 25 since my defense.  I think he's magic.  If only he could magically shed typos.

So how does one get through 371 pages of copyediting? Help!

*Hmm, maybe I can exploit this technique.  When my brain is racing through too much theory and data to sleep, I just need to copy-edit a bit as a cure for insomnia? I must try this in the future and report back.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Project Re-Read

As a child, I was quite the packrat.  Examining my bedroom in my parents' house this winter, I discovered programs from Community College plays I attended as a child, my middle school history notebook (the quantity of my doodles hasn't changed, but their quality has improved), dried leaves from my tree friends (trees I endowed with various names and personalities) and so on.

Since I moved out of my parents' house 12 years ago (and moved every nine months or so since then) I have learned to throw these types of things away, rather than cherish them in hopes of a non-existent future moment I spend reminiscing with them.  I have also become exceptionally good at paring down my clothing and shoes (and of course it helps that I hate shopping for clothes in the first place and stick to "classic" fashions).

The area where I struggle (and I know I'm not alone in this, especially among academics) is books.  I think part of this is rooted in the fact that books were my favorite activity as a child, and not all that easy to get ahold of.  Each book that I was given for my birthday or Christmas became a cherished possession to re-read over and over.  Even if I didn't want to re-read it, I might in the future.  What if I couldn't get ahold of it?

But times have changed.  Between Amazon and interlibrary loan from my university and public libraries (in actual cities, compared to the wandering bookmobile that was my first public library experience), I think I could get virtually any of the books on my shelves if I wanted to re-read them.  The classics are even available free on the internet.  Furthermore, books are heavy.

So in preparation for my upcoming move and in celebration of my wealth of free time, I have decided to pare down my book collection by engaging in Project Re-Read.  I will re-read, or at least start to re-read, the books on my shelves, and decide if they make the cut.  Luckily for me, the majority of my books are still stored at my parents' house or digital (yay Kindle!), so this is still the minority of my books.

There are some books that I will not re-read, and will certainly move (academic references I use often and my favorite childhood books I still re-read).  There are other books I will not re-read, because I remember that I do not want to read them again, and will get rid of (why do I even have these now?).  I may not re-read, but will certainly not get rid of, any Arabic books, because these are still hard to come by.

The rest I will re-read, and decide whether they will make the moving cut.  Will I read them often, or can I rely upon getting them from the library or cheaply from Amazon should I wish to re-read them in the future? My guess is that most books will not make this cut, which will be quite the departure from my previous book-hoarding experience.

I should also note that while giving up books is difficult for me, I have no issues with giving up the physical copies of books.  In fact, most of the books I own are cheap paperbacks, which means they turn yellow and smelly with the years--not something I want to hold onto or attach great sentimental value to.  In fact, if I could magically convert all of my books to digital books, I would have no problems giving up the physical copies.  However, I am too cheap to purchase digital copies of books I own physical copies of to possibly re-read them in the future, so that is also a consideration.

Or perhaps I am just transferring my hoarding tendencies, from physical objects to digital copies, because the latter are so easy to move?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Planning for Summer

Pending filing my dissertation, I have this summer off.  I have not had a summer off since I was 16.   For the last six summers, I have been teaching or taking intensive language classes (of the meet 3-5 hours a day, five days a week, plus extracurriculars variety).  So, having all of this free time to do whatever I want is rather novel, particularly after feeling that I had no time all year as a result of dissertating and job searching.  Now there are probably plenty of things I should be doing in preparation for my job, and I have some trips planned, and some dance events, and there is the dreadful moving and packing business.  But for now, I'm free!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Adventures on the Job Market: Spousal Hires

I wasn't going to post about this at all, because it still makes me too upset to think about, but the tables have turned in an interesting way . . . To make a long story short, there was a job I really, really wanted. They did a full search, brought me to campus, and hired the spouse of another faculty member (who has been working there as a visiting lecturer). I'm sure he is a great guy, but not the right specialization for how they told me they wanted to expand. Also not done with his PhD as far as I can tell (I just defended).

This was sad enough in itself, but then Dream U kept getting my hopes up:

Two weeks after their decision, when I had a one-year offer:
--We've hired someone, but we're trying to get a second TT position for you--hold on! (they do have rather deep pockets)
--No, we were refused.

A month later:
--Okay, now we have a one-year position, are you interested?
--Um, yes, but only if the rest of my TT searches don't pan out.
--You're still in TT searches? Okay, we're going to ask again.

Two weeks later:
--I have a TT offer. What's up?
--They refused us again for a second TT, but we might be able to hire TT next year.
--No thanks.

So yes, in case seven months of job searching misery aren't enough, let's knock you down and then keep poking to see if you're still alive.

So now, a department at my new university it trying to make a hire, and wants the spouse of the hire employed in my new department, in the section I will be building. He meets what we will be looking for in a very basic way, and I'll be interviewing him in a surprising turn of events for the year. In contrast to Dream school, my new chair is adamant that if he is not satisfactory we won't hire him, no matter what his spouse's department wants. Now, having done long distance with my husband across oceans, I understand as well as anyone how nice it is to be with your spouse. I am also very lucky in that my spouse agreed to move with me to my new job. However, I have to say that these spousal hiring practices give me the creeps, and I just cannot figure out how it is ethical (maybe when two superstar spouse are poached as a team?) I don't know.