Monday, November 09, 2009

Germ Warfare

Call me crazy, but this year I just don't want to get sick. I do not want an extra cold or the flu or any other malady this winter if I can help it. It's not just the H1N1 pandemic, it is any illness that my students drag into the classroom. Many of them live in University residences which can be a hotbed of strange infectious diseases. Others live in high density housing with anywhere from 2-6 students per house. University students can be just as bad as small elementary school-age children for spreading germs and illness.

With this in mind I've taken the unconventional step of putting my students midterms in the freezer overnight (double wrapped in plastic to avoid moisture) to kill any wayward viruses and bugs. I'm not 100% convinced it will get everything, but whatever I can do to slightly decrease my chances of getting sick is welcomed. This is not something I've ever done before and I may not do it again. I'm just taking some precautions considering how much I'll be touching these midterms over the next week or so while I'm marking them. I heard about this technique through the academic grapevine. I'm not sure if it's more the stuff of urban campus legend, or scientifically proven. Either way, it won't hurt their exams.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Company's Coming

I know I missed the past two days of blogging for NaBloPoMo. I had a bit of a school related crisis that made me implode for a bit. I may or may not write about it in the next few days. Lets just say that I may decide that striving for a Ph.d is not something I want to pursue anymore.

Instead of talking about that, I've decided to talk about what I like to do in preparation for a visit from Quiet Confidence. These are some things I like to do before his arrival, in no particular order:

- Clean the bathroom. I like the smell and look of a freshly scrubbed bathroom. It's also a bit of courtesy for me to neatly put away all the toiletries and things that litter my bathroom counter during the week. It's a small space and if we're sharing it for a couple of days it means there's no counter space for his things unless I tidy up.

- Catch up on all my laundry, which includes making sure there are fresh towels in the bathroom for both of us and the sheets on my bed are new. Nothing beats sleeping in clean sheets that first night.

- Wash my dishes and clean up the kitchen.

- Buy all the groceries I need for the weekend, included drink items like coke that I never use but he likes, a bottle of wine if we're feeling decadent, or some other treat. This is when I would normally plan ahead for dinners I plan to make and potentially bake a dessert for us, or a little snack of something tasty. Baking cookies also helps to make my place smell great.

- The obligatory shave, pluck, wax and general maintenance that needs to be done. If it's summer I'll probably repaint my toenails. In winter things slide a bit more.

- I straighten all the paperwork, books and files in my office area so it has some semblance of organization. Otherwise it looks like a file cabinet vomited all over my office - the hazards of still being a student. I'm a little jealous of QC because 90% or more of his work is on computer files that are all neatly out of sight and always well organized.

- A general once over of the rest of my apartment to pick up stray books, put away all the shoes that stack up next to the door during the week, and put things in order in general.

- I may also download a couple of movies for us to watch if we choose to spend a lazy evening at home, but that's not always a given.

The list looks a little like a 1950's housewife manual, but I like having things looking clean and presentable before I have company. I also don't like wasting my precious weekend time with QC running errands for grocery items I've forgotten when I want to make something in particular for dinner. I think it's my mother's influence. Saturday's were always spent cleaning up the house, catching up on laundry and generally getting things in order for the coming week. Since I don't want to spend my Saturday with QC doing that I'll make sure it's all done the Thursday or Friday before, depending on which day he comes over.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

NaBloPoMo, Day 4

I've been a bit busy today trying to prepare myself for a meeting tomorrow with one of my supervisors. I'm not feeling particularly creative, so in order to fulfill my requirements for NaBloPoMo I will post a couple things I am thankful for today. (I can't believe I'm already treating it like a task that needs to be completed instead of a creative exercise, but oh well).

1. I'm thankful that I didn't have to go to school today because it rained and snowed off and on all day.

2. I'm thankful for the wireless network that just popped up and I can use, even though it's not mine.

3. I'm thankful for the leftovers that Quiet Confidence sent home with me after the weekend, because it meant I had a decent dinner tonight without having to do much work to get it.

4. I'm thankful I had kleenex in the house, courtesy of my Mother, because my nose wouldn't stop running today. I either have the start of a cold or something is bothering my allergies.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Freedom (from the internet)

I found an application called Freedom through a roundabout way and it looked interesting. Freedom promised to help my productivity by disabling networking on Apple computers for up to 8 hours. This way even if I wanted to go online to surf randomness I couldn't. Forcing myself to concentrate on my own work for a preset time sounded like the perfect solution to my issue. The only way to circumvent the timer on Freedom meant rebooting my computer - which seemed cumbersome enough that I won't do it lightly. Unfortunately I couldn't get it to work on my computer and I couldn't figure out why not from their support page.

If you're an academic or just can't break yourself of constantly checking email or webpage updates, instead of keeping your focus on the task at hand, this seems like a very handy application. It did get a lot of good press and reviews.

Monday, November 02, 2009


It's National Blog Posting Month again. I'm going to give it a shot and hope for the best. Last year I crashed and burned in a matter of days. Let's hope I have something to say for the next 29 days and actually remember to post it.

I suspect that weekends when Quiet Confidence is here, or I'm at his place will be the hardest.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

An Odd Observation

The other morning I was in the shower when something odd dawned on me. I live alone, however I have five different shampoo's in the shower, and two different types of conditioner. I never realized I had accumulated such a collection by accident. I never did this when I lived with house mates. I wonder what other weird things I've bought multiples of without realizing it.