Snowed Under

Ok. It’s official. This week I am snowed under with things. Every day I write half a blog post, and then something comes up and I do not got back to it and I fall into bed later, exhausted, some time in the wee hours, only to get up early the next day to carry on with things.

So in case you were wondering, I am still here. Just snowed under. I gave my final exam for my Physics 151 course (Fundamentals of Physics: Mechanics and Thermodynamics) on Monday (hurrah!) and I’ve spent a huge chunk of today playing with various excel files of various chunks of data from the course, trying to turns a sea of numbers into final grades for the students. It has been slow work, and I’m nowhere near done yet. It’s complicated because I must incorporate multiple components of assessment, from three different exams, laboratory work, online homework and written homework, to in-class responses using individual RF transmitters, and online quizzes of various sorts. (All a bit much, in my view, but, well that’s another story…) Every single bit has its own spreadsheet with data that must be uniformized and then combined to give the whole picture of each student’s performance.

It has made me a bit dizzy just talking about it.

But it’s not that simple. Oh no. Here’s a small part of the extra stuff: I’ve been trying to get the exterior of my house painted, and of course there have been (quite fantastic) rainstorms delaying everything and so I’ve been dealing with painters for longer than planned – with the Christmas holiday closing fast, and I’ve got my mum visiting me (hurrah!) and so I must be a good host and so forth and not just hide in the study crunching numbers (she arrived a day earlier than I expected – my fault! – so I’m a bit off-balance about that too), and… and…

And I had better get to sleep now since I have to make myself camera-ready in the morning and drive up to the Mojave Desert to be involved in a shoot for a show that’ll air on either Discover or National Geographic. I can’t remember which. I’m supposed to do one for each and I’ve lost track right now of which is which. Anyway, I’ve just been told to go to a particular town. No address has come through on email as yet. And so I have just a phone number to call when I’m close. And I don’t know if the mobile phone will work in the desert anyway. And I don’t know if the drive will take 1 hour 45 minutes or 3 hours (since google maps gave me that as the range) and so I’d better expect that latter, especially given the time of day. And I don’t know if the roads will be open since I’ll have to do a mountain pass at some point and temperatures are low and snow (actual snow!) has been seen at low-lying areas and that usually results in closed roads…

I could have just chosen the simple life. But of course I did not. Yay.


(Coming up, I hope: A book review I’ve been planning to write for several months. Just in time for holiday gift ideas!)

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5 Responses to Snowed Under

  1. Jude says:

    Ah, well. One more day and it’s two weeks off for me. I’m quite looking forward to that. And we have snow this year in Colorado, so in spite of the recession, the ski areas have something to offer for a change instead of just manufactured snow. When my kid Tris was working at Death Valley, which has no cell phone towers, the one time she got stuck her cell phone worked, so with any luck you will have an equally fortuitous day and figure out where you’re going.

  2. physics groupie says:

    what a load of tosh. can’t you bloggers lift your posts even a little above the level of a badly written personal diary these days?

  3. Clifford says:

    Dear physics groupie,

    My posts have always been (part of) a badly-written personal diary! How odd that you, with your no doubt admirably high standards for literary craft, managed to miss that all this time.

    Now do keep up…


  4. robert says:

    Happy Christmas Clifford

    For some reason I have become quite partial to your personal ‘tosh’ -it’s better than the political polemic and ad hominem abuse that characterise rather too many hep-th related blogs these days. And when it’s not personal ‘tosh’, it’s invariably highly informative.

    Have a Nice One

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