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OMG- Just...stop

I don't know why I do this thing where i fool myself into thinking I am nowhere near as busy as I am, and then, when I am in the midst of it, struggling somewhat to not be completely overwhelmed.

For example, I have five conference presentations as possibilities for 2017- two are guaranteed (well, one happens in two weeks and I've gotten the approval email for the second one), one is about 99% guaranteed (when you put together your own panel, you're knd of golden at most conferences).  The other two are iffy; one is extremely iffy and one is maybe 50/50.  But honestly, that's a lot, even for a soon-to-be doctoral candidate.  So why am I still looking up and looking at CFPs?  I should honestly be done.

Or the fall.  My fall is PACKED. I am definitely teaching three classes; on the schedule and they will all fill, no doubt. I likely will teach another (I've taught it for the last 3 years in the fall) and just might get a fellowship.  Why am I still looking for stuff to do?

What I have to realize is enough is enough - my schedule is ridiculously packed. Ihave enough on it.

Irons in the Fire

Number of things on the burner

  • Presentation proposal in for the Cultural Studies Association conferenence

  • Poster propsoal in the the National Women's Studies Association conference

  • Putting together a panel for the Mid Atlantic Popular Culture Association conference

  • Presentation proposal in for the Political Masculinities conference (in Germany)

  • Application in for the Doctoral Summer Seminar at Wayne State University

  • Finishing application for the Dresher Center Fellowship here at UMBC

  • Polishing up application for the Crandall Fellowship here

  • Potential abstract for journal article for Critical Military Studies

  • Potential abstract for Gender and Society or the Journal of Fandom Studies

  • Potential abstract for Masculinity, Society and Culture

Let's Go March

Updates more to empty my head out.

PhD (formerly 'school').  I started comps on January 31st with a goal of writing 10 pages every weekend in February, to complete my first question by the end of February, start my 2nd question on March 5th, with a completion of it by March 31st, and revise most of the month of April.  I am happy to report - I am right on track.  It's March 2nd, and my first question has been done since....wow...February 25th?  I have about 44 pages written, and with the intro and closing I need to finish (during revisions) it's about 47 pages, and will likely be scaled back to 42 or so.  I'll start on the second question next week, which I am excited about.

I am also getting a lot of interest from my dissertation advisors, who are guiding me towards stuff like publishing and presenting at conferences.  Absolutely excited about that. Additionally, I found out I got a pretty prestigious award from one of the conferences at which I am presenting.  All in all, the PhD is going well.  I've mapped out with my advisor, and he firmly believes I can be done by December 2018.  Wow.

Teaching.  Teaching is going good. I have three classes this semester; two face-to-face classes and one online course.  I am keeping on top of the work, which is awesome.  I know most of my classes for next year, and I might have to adapt my schedule a bit, especially if I get this fellowship I expect to get for the fall.  But I definitely got the masculinity course again (for which I am excited) and I will be teaching Sociology of Sport again.  They want me to teach Intro to Sociology; I'm not against it, I just am a bit flummoxed about teaching four nights (again).  I'd be teaching a long Monday, a short Tues/Thursday, and a long Wednesday.  I know me - I will be dragging.

Work.  Work is picking up the pace.  Have lots to do, really.

Fitness. Fitness is going great.  Ran 40 miles in January, and 62 miles in February.  Went to gym classes every weekend.  I've lost so much weight in the last 7 weeks.  I mean, seriously - I can fit into multiple versions of my 30 inch waist jeans again.  Still some work to do, and a lot I want to do, so I'm nowhere even close to 'great'; I'm barely close to 'okay' again....but I am getting there.

I'm pretty proud that on January 5th I started doing 25 dumbbell curls every morning (25 reps each arm).  I haven't missed one day.

Resolutions. They are generally going well.  Clearly many of them are related to school and teaching and fitness, so I'm keeping up on all of those.  Duolinguo is going really well; I missed one day (I don't even see how that happened) in the last 55.  So I had two freaking long streaks.  The only ones I am falling short on is the ones having to do with speaking to people who speak Spanish and doing a podcast; haven't those yet.

That's a quote from Alice in Wonderland.  I didn't like the movie (the Tim Burton verson) originally, but it grew upon me.  I've kind of used it as a rallying call for my winter, given how busy I have been with various things.  I've found, that every Saturday up until April, I must believe as many as six impossible things before going to bed:

1) "That candy can make me stronger"

I'm pretty amazed that I've kept on a regimen of taking fiber gummies and calcium gummies every day for....a while now.  And this is me, a person who couldn't remember to take a vitamin because by the time I walked out of the door I'd forget whether I took it.  However, I not only keep up on this Saturdays, but every day, making sure it is one of the first things I do every morning.

2) "That I can sing myself to strength of arm"

Since January 5th, I've begun a pretty simple function of doing 25 reps (each arm) with a 20lb dumbbell every morning, while singing a little song I learned when I was in possibly the 3rd grade. It becomes mindless; I've sat the dumbbell by my bathroom door, so at worst, I see it four times before I leave the apartment.  I normally do the reps as soon as I get up and before my shower, but there's been a few times (like this morning) where wet Steven is doing naked reps.  But I've been consistent with this; I haven't missed one day.

3) "That my phone can train my tongue"

Another thing I've been doing since January 5th is Duolinguo.  I'm a bit embarrassed that I have a degree in Spanish, but I really don't have proficiency in it.  So every day, I do a few sessions of Duolinguo on my iPhone.  I've missed one day since the 5th (which was a mistake, given I convinced myself I did at least one 'class' that day...)

4) "That I can run nowhere, fast"

At least two miles on the treadmill, every Saturday.  I've been averaging about 14 miles a week, and am pushing my Saturdays up to a 5k.  Once I get there, it is all about getting faster.

5) "That I can home home again"

I used to go to a fitness class every Saturday, and was quite the regular, and my body showed it.  However, I stopped going way back in 2015.  Now it is about going back, and coming home.  There's also a class on Sundays that I was a regular up until March of 2016, and then stopped.  I have been faithfully going to these classes since January 7th.  Keep it up.

6) "That I can beat the Jabberwocky"

My comprehensive exam is my 'jabberwocky', the beast only I can fight.  It has to be done in 90 days, and will be at least 80 pages.  I've taken to working on it during Saturdays, trying to conquer it 10 pages at a time since January 31st.  I've done rather well so far, but there's still a distance. If all goes well, the first portion (the first question) will be done by February 25th, and the second portion will begin March 11th (to be finished April 1st) - this will leave me nearly 30 days to revise....  Here's hoping I can keep the good fight going.


January 31st begins some stuff

- I get my comprehensive exam questions today.  I have already received one and am waiting for the other.  Once I receive both, I have 90 days to complete them - 30 pages minimum per question.  The first question is....intense.  It will take me the entire month of March to sufficiently answer.  I'm hoping to get the other today and spend all of February on that.

- I have set a goal of 90k (54 miles) this month.  I did pretty decent in the month of January with a pretty shoddy start; about 65k or 40 miles.  Just shooting for a bit more, which will be slightly challenging in a short month.

- I will be teaching two courses this spring, one I've never taught before (Sociology of Sport).  I'm excited, and everything starts today.  Additionally tonight is the first night of the Social Problems class.

- My fried food cleanse went pretty well.  Out of 29 days I had 7 servings of fried foods; that's pretty impressive.  I think my waist (and my endurance) show the difference.  I'm going to essentially keep it up through the month of February.  The cleanse this month will be that I can have no more than (again) 7 servings of fried foods.  I really don't want *any* this week.  Maybe I'll treat myself around the 15th or so.

- I also want to keep up on the fitness classes.  It will be hard; I'll miss a number of the Saturday classes due to clinics I have to work.

Fingers crossed to a great degree for the month of February!  Hope to come out of it okay!

Ready? Set? Change.

My marathon of resolutions is going relatively well
- I have a date set for the start of my comprehensive exams, so I'll be done by the end of April
- I have received confirmation that I'll be presenting at two conferences this year, with the strong likelihood of presentation at least for 2-3 more
- I started Duolinguo, and am on a 17 day streak.  It's pretty funny how well my Spanish recognition has shot up
- I've been hitting the gym regularly, like 7-9 times a week, and have made 5 classes this month (and run about 40k)

It's just the first month, so I'm pretty pleased with the results.

I've also been doing 'cleanses' and 'streaks' for periods of time.  I did a 'fried food streak' where I refrained from eating fried foods in a heavy fashion.  Over the last 22 days, I've only had 4 servings of fried food. I'm going to make it an even 28-day "flush" and not have any more.  I'll see how long it goes; I'm just amazed at the changes since I haven't eaten anything from grease, or at least not much of it.

I have also been doing hammer curls every morning, 50 each day.  Seeing a difference there too.

Not jumping on a scale or measuring anything yet; just feeling really okay with the fact that I feel a lot better.

Classes start next week - let's get going.

So far....

Generally, so far all of my resolutions (of which there are 26) are going well.  Most of them are very event oriented (such as four conferences or a certain number of erichment meetings, etc), but for those that are "long term change", those that involve fitness, I'm doing pretty damn well.  Since January 2nd, I've been to the gym (as in walked in the door and exercised) 15 times.  I've run a good number of miles (like 20?) but my pace and my distance isn't where it used to be.  But I am not concerned with that; this is about getting there eventually.  At the start of this month I was happy to do 1.4 miles and not stop.  It's now the 19th, and I'm already up to 1.75 miles.  If I can get to a consistent 2 miles by the end of the month (which would equal 12 miles/week) and then up to 2.5 by the end of February (15- woohoo), I'll be happy.  I really want to be able to do 100k a month starting in February - I certainly hope I can keep it up.

I have a meeting today with one of my dissertation advisors- I still don't have my comps questions.  Hopefully, HOPEFULLY, I get them next week.  I am itching for a 1/27 start date now.

Had to put in my requests for my fall courses at Towson.  I just sent an email to the coordinator asking what he wants me to teach; hopefully an answer is forthcoming.

There's nothing else really big happening, truth be told.

2017 - The Marathon of Resolutions

I call it a marathon of resolutions because of my intent to complete 26 resolutions (and exceed at least five), so it makes sense.

Education (7)
- Finish my comprehensive examinations
- Defend my dissertation proposal
- present at three (3) academic conferences
- get published in two (2) academic blogs
- get published in at least one academic journal
- complete two (2) academic fora at UMBC
- attend one (1) professional academic meeting (CSA, ASA, AMSA)

This will be a busy year, so many of these things will happen regardless; it is just about making them happen.  I need to do most as a matter of course, but some I need to make time so they can happen.

Teaching (2)
- teach six (6) classes
- teach two (2) topics I've never taught before

My goals for teaching are minimal, but I'd like to teach at least two things I've never taught before in sociology, cultural studies, or gender studies.  Last year circumstances really drove down the number of courses I taught; I think I barely taught six when I would normally teach 7-8.

Fitness (6)
- attend seventy-five (75) fitness classes
- run 500 miles
- complete five (5) organized 5k runs
- complete ten (10) urban hikes
- win at least two MapMyRun compeitions against Sashi
- bench 200 lbs

I dropped off on fitness this year, and then picked it up hardcore late summer, and dropped off again.  Cannot drop off again. An urban hike is a walk in the city of at least 4 miles. I barely did any fitness classes in 2016; that was bad.

Growth (3)
- start Spanish Duolingo
- download and listen regularly (at least 1/month) one (1) Spanish podcast
- attempt discussion w/Raf or Alfredo

Working on a language I literally plagarized from Aram.  I mean, I have a degree in Spanish but haven't used it at all in years.  I need to essentially re-dedicate myself.

Travel (3)
- visit three (3) new cities
- take five (5) plane rides
- visit friends in at least three (3) cities

Finance (3)
- save $5000 (independent of of 401k and retirement)
- create and sustain CoH/In the Mattress "account"
- get Pact up to $225

Graduate school has completely depleted my finances; what was once a lot of money in my savings has dried up.  I'm doing a good amount of teaching, and should only have to pay for my dissertation credits, which means Ill be able to save a good deal of money.  Getting my cash on hand back up will be the challenge, but Pact shouldn't be hard, if I keep up on running.

Other (2)
- have at least four (4) meetings with non UMBC, non-Maryland academics in gender studies or linguistics (Skype counts)
- go on at least three (3) dates

Irons in the Fire...

* Comprehensive examinations start in 14 days (2 weeks).  Just ready to get them started so I could get them done.  People seem to think I'll do well on them; I'm just ready to put them behind me so I am more than half done this marathon of a PhD.

* Waiting to see how the enrollment for my mini course shapes up.  Right now I have 4 people; in order ot get the minimum pay flat rate, I need at least 8.  Many of the other courses are well past that minimum - I just want to get there.  Conceivably I have four weeks to get there, but I just don't like being this down to the wire.  Mini courses used to fill SO much quicker in the past; I'd normally have to concern myself with my course closing and letting extra people in.  Times change.

* Sent an email to a blog on masculinity to see if they were interested in me commssioning a piece. No response.  Sent an email to a prof who works with them; he's willing to serve as a go-between, just need to produce the piece. Goal - get this done before comps start on the 20th, and be pretty much set with this.

*Sent another email to a journal to see if they were interested in a short piece on some of my research.  Hoping they saw yes.  The piece is already done, it just needs to be edited, likely.

Other potential in the air, such as two journal publishing opps, but won't even think about them until comps are done, done, done.

Tick - tock

My comprehensive exams are now closing in on me.  Am I ready? I guess I have to be.  I still feel like I'm at a point where my head is absolutely saturated with knowledge.  I've read so much in the last 8 weeks - no seriously, I now know what "cramming" is.  I've read books...like 2 dozen books...in 8 weeks.  And it isn't like these were easy reads- no Harry Potter or John Grisham.  It was all deep, heavy, involved stuff.  Between that, the articles, and writing the annotated bibliographies - it's just so much.  And it really isn't over - 20 more articles and books over the next 10 days.  But that will finish it, and then on the 21st, comps begin.  Yep, I am ready.

One of my friends/acquaintances just told me he failed his comps. At least twice.  I am thinking WHOAH, really??? And he eventually finished his PhD (he had a LOT of problems, though, and ended up defending his dissertation, being told he needed MAJOR revisions, and then, finally, passing because the chair was about to retire).  I don't want to be in that situation.  It isn't that I think I am a better writer or better academic, but I think my focus is a little better. I need to finish this. Bottom line.

I've also found new energy for the job.  I am very excited about that.  I am glad the wonder of the medical records hasn't left me - getting new information is like solving a mystery, sort of like my favorite shows.  I guess I just really love deductive reasoning.

I found out one of my favorite shows is still on, and coming on Sundays - just catching up on-demand though.  I love Elementary. Great show.

Teaching is going great. I really, really like the masculinities course.  I am hoping, so much, I get to teach it again in the fall of 2017 - it only happens once a year.  I guess I'll know by March.  Heck, that's when comps end.  I guess I will know *a lot* by March....