Day 9: Stewgad vs. THE BUS

Anyone not wanting to experience or witness negative vibes, step away from the blog now. You have been warned. Proceed at your own risk.

Ok, so this morning I get up, and I'm pretty drained from the 2 day marathon that resulted in 1/2 of chapter 2 being completed (hooray!) I am feeling unmotivated, exhausted, and my inner toddler is demanding some attention. (It does that occasionally. I call it that because, like a toddler, it's not so articulate about its needs and tends to request things in single declarative words: MINE! NO! In fact, I think that is the extent of its vocabulary.) So, I said, hey little inner toddler, what's with you today? Wanna get up and work out? NO! Wanna get up and go to school? NO! Hm... Wanna stay in bed and watch the last 2 episodes of Gilmore Girls Season 2 from Netflix? Silence. We'll take that as a yes. So, I loligagged (how do you spell that word, anyway?) a bit, had some eggs, and watched a little DVDTV. (Grr Christopher, hooray Jess!) Then, I got ready and headed out for the bus at about my usual time -- just minus the morning workout, cardboard kashi dieters cereal, and chapter of textbook reading/decision making that has been my morning routine for the past week and a half. So, I was feeling OK. I was rested, I was ready to go, and I was dying for an iced coffee from the Cafe in the Quiet Library for which I had scoured the house for change and for which I had even contemplated attempting to pass off a Canadian Twoney as American money. So, I walked to the corner where I expected to pick up the bus, and waited. And waited. And waited.

(Fade away from coffee-Desiring ABD Sweating on Laundromat Corner. Fade in background story about the Bus Saga)

Very Important University is going to tear down an Historic Woods and put in a parking lot so that the Obscenely Wealthy undergrads will have a place to park their Hummers (seriously, one kid drives a yellow one), BMWs, and Ford Expeditions. (Bitter, party of one?) Local Crunchy Types are camping out in front of the bulldozers to protest (Good for them!) since all legal challenges were rejected by Republican appointed judges. (Boo, hiss). The police presence at the woods to protect the fragile bulldozers from those pesky protesters disrupted my bus route yesterday. (The bus I take to campus goes right by the woods on the way.) So yesterday, after walking 20 minutes in 80-something degree heat lugging my heavy backpack to get to the bus stop, I got on the bus and watched, as it proceeded to take a different route to campus that involved driving back exactly back the way I had just walked for 20 minutes. It drove past my block, stopped at a stop sign 2 blocks away from my house, and then turned to head up to campus. Boy, did I feel like a chump. So, when I got off the bus yesterday, I asked the driver: Me: "How long will you be taking this route?" Driver: "I dunno." Me: "Tomorrow?" Driver:"Yeah, probably, until they tell us to stop." Me: "Ok, great. Thanks a lot."

So today, I think, Ha! The bus system will not outwit me again! I will omit the 20 minute walk lugging the heavy backpack in 80 degree humid heat and just wait for the bus at the stop sign 2 blocks away. Heh, heh, I thought to myself, I've done it now! That's what I get for attempting to outsmart the bus system. They defy all logic and repel all attempts to comprehend and/or master. I'm sure you can guess what happened. After 20 minutes of waiting in the heat, I gave up and hoofed it to the regular bus stop 20 minutes away, where the bus picked me up and took me up to campus via the usual route. As we drove past Endangered Historic Woods, the police were gone, I guess having decided that the protesters weren't going away nor were they any real danger to the bulldozers. (I'll keep you posted on Very Important Bulldozer vs. Local Tree Supporters as things develop.) I think this bus thing was fate's way of telling me to stop watching TV in the mornings and return to exercising and reading textbooks.

So, I'm now at the Quiet Library, and I'm smothering in the Cage where it is about 100 degrees because Very Important University has this ingenious heating and cooling system whereby the heat is on year round (pumping quite effectively out of the heater that takes up 1/2 the space in the Cage), but in the summer they just turn on the air conditioning also. (That pumps out of a different system situated 1/2 a block away down the hallway from the Cage.) I wonder how many PhDs it took to come up with that efficient energy policy?

Well, I think that pretty much does it for the grousing. I'm even getting sick of myself. For those of you who are still reading, thanks and I apologize. Hopefully, such extended rants about inconsequential events won't happen very often.

Today, I need to deal with the final section of this chapter. This involves putting together some old research in a new way, rethinking the remainder of what I do have written, and essentially re-writing this section from scratch. Sigh. Any minute now, coffee will kick in and I won't be so intimidated by this.


At 1:35 PM Suz said...

RX: Get caffiene, fast. Lots. Hurry.

At 2:55 PM Sus said...


I found your blog by random surfing. Random surfing caused by yet another try to escape the paper I am currently writing. Right now I'm so stuck and the paper is due Friday morning. It's not a nice feeling. I tried to go for a walk. To get pizza though, but still it qualifies as a walk. Allthough that usually helps to clear my brain it didn't this time so I tried surfing the web instead and found your blog.
The paper I'm writing is just a tiny 15 pages exam but it's quite important to me because it's one of the big steps towards getting my first degree. After this exam, I have another one and then yet another one and then.. then I have the summer of! Just so you know, I am studying philosophy at a university in Denmark.
Anyway, I love the way you write and it helps me a lot to read the thoughts you have about writing academic papers, because I can really relate. Like the entry you did on revising.. It was such a relief to read that.
I really hope you don't mind me stopping by once in a while during the next 3 weeks, because I sure would like to. Good luck with your dissertation - it sounds really interesting.


At 2:59 PM Sus said...

Oh I just noticed - what a coincidence that the other person commenting on this entry is called Suz. My name is really Sussi.

At 3:19 PM Stewgad said...

Suz - Took your advice. 2nd coffee of the day in the works.

Sus / Sussi - Welcome and thanks so much for posting your comments! I'm glad you found the blog, even if it was in a procrastinatory moment. (Which of course, happen to all of us -and, I'm starting to believe, must actually be an integral part of the process.) Your comments totally made my day!!

And my two cents are that there are no small papers -- especially ones that are stepping-stones to important goals like degrees. I totally sympathize with the stuck-ness you're experiencing. I'm right there with you. I'm so stuck today that I'm about to start listing all of the reasons why the project scares me (one big one -- what if it sucks?), and what things I would rather be doing than the chapter (swimming, reading, eating ice-cream, cleaning the toilet, scrubbing the bottom of the trash can with a toothbrush, etc.) :) Sometimes that helps me break out of the rut.

Good luck to you as you work for this deadline, and as you finish up for the academic season. Stop by again soon and let me know how the paper and exams are going!

At 5:30 PM The PhD Explosion said...

I think today was all about embracing one's inner child (or something like that), tantrums were had all over the place. Mine was documented earlier today and is over, for now. But I had one the day before too, so maybe tomorrow will be the same. Who knows?

I found your blog through various mutual links. I like reading it.

At 7:52 PM New Kid on the Hallway said...

One of the students on my campus drives a yellow Mercedes Kompressor. :-P

At 11:41 AM Stewgad said...

Explosion - Welcome and thanks for checking in! I liked your blog, too and added it to the links. It sounded like your tantrum didn't keep you from being productive, though, so good for you! Keep at it!

New Kid - A friend of mine once said one of the smartest things I had ever heard about why it was hard to be in academia. She said that teaching was difficult because the students are younger, richer, and prettier than you are, and that each year they'll only get younger, richer, and prettier as you get older and older and older. I try to remember that this situation is intentional, and that those nice wealthy students driving the Kompressors and Hummers are paying for my humble used Subaru. (Which in and of itself is an elite vehicle, if I'm really honest about it.) And then I try to remind myself that hey, no way would I ever want one of those obnoxious cars anyway. If for no other reason than that they only seem to come in day glow yellow, when everyone knows all things should be blue if they can help it. I then tell myself that one of the reasons I went into academia was because that excessive standard of living is neither required nor encouraged. But some days it is easier than others. But seriously, what are their parent's thinking? I know, I'll put my 18 year old pride and joy in a $60,000 killing machine and just hope and pray they don't run over anyone who happens to be in their way? Sigh. More money than sense, I suppose.

At 5:09 PM Overread said...

Oh, I completely empathize with fighting public transportation. There is simply no way to win that one. Full points to the crunchies laying in front of the 'dozers a la Arthur Dent.

I like the blog a lot. I think I'll be dropping by more often. Good luck with the writing!

At 12:17 PM Stewgad said...

Overread -
Welcome, and thanks for posting! I was defintely reminded of Arthur Dent the first time I saw them out there. (The book version, not the movie that totally elminated the 2 best parts of that scene: the riff on Ghengis Khan and the way Ford negotiates with the bulldozer operators. Cart full of beer, sheesh. He used his WITS, man, not bribery!)



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