Sunday, November 14, 2010

You may be a hoarder if... me, you purchased bulk staples, paper clips, and pencils the year you started graduate school (for me it was 1994) AND STILL HAVE UNUSED ONES. Good god.

Even worse, I forgot where some of these were (shoved into a box labeled "office supplies" in a linen closet in our hallway) and have been mooching off of Bullock since I moved in with him. And all this time I still had one full box of 5000 staples, five 100-count boxes of paper clips, and four 12-count boxes of unused pencils. Also in the mysterious box o' supplies: a life-time supply of unused "daily schedule" sheets for the 8"x10" Day Runner I no longer use; a bunch of 3" or 4" D-ring binders; some blank composition notebooks; unused letterhead from my graduate program department (WTF, why did that even move with me to RBU???); and, my favorite, 3.5" floppy disks with with system and program backups for a computer I no longer own.


Updated to add: Oh wait, there's more. One of the big D-ring binders has my undergraduate institution's name on it and inside are labeled dividers with labels such as "company info/lit" and "cover letters (copies)." In other words, this was the binder I used to organize my job applications in the Spring of freaking 1991! *headdesk*

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Ph.D. in the humanities? - A kinder, gentler xtranormal video

This is response to the now-viral video I linked to in an earlier post. This one is kinder, gentler, and more idealistic -- except when it takes a few jabs at the earlier video. It's also a lot more like the actual conversations I have with actual students. And bonus: it makes a Dr. Who reference. It's also really inspiring and I think that every time I get in a funk about the future of the university and especially the humanities, I'm going to watch this to recharge myself.

You should watch it, too.

h/t Karl at In the Middle

I'm posting this not only because I like it, but also especially for Jeffrey, meg, Flavia, and Clarissa, all of whom I know didn't like the original, cynical version (or, in meg's case, didn't like the emerging genre of xtranormal videos in which experience berates naivete).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New desk chair!

I bought my first new desk chair for the first time since circa 1999 and it was delivered yesterday. The old one was a $49 number from Ikea, which I bought when I also purchased my giant Ikea "Anton" computer desk plus rolling CPU/printer stand and file drawers. The desk and its accessories are still going strong. The, not so much:

Crappy Old Desk Chair

No, you're not seeing things; the seat really is sloping to the left (or to my right as I sat in it - probably from years of leaning right to the file drawers, printer, etc.). Anyway, after spending about $500 on the perfect "dissertating" desk, that lame chair was about all I could afford.

This time, now that I'm a tenured professor on sabbatical, and therefore spending a *lot* of time in my desk chair at home, but also making a decent living, I put down serious money and got something like the comfortable, multi-adjustable chairs they gave us in the new building at RBU. (I wish I could have figured out how to get that *exact* one, because it is teh awesome! But it's made by a company that only does bulk office orders, alas.) At any rate, the one I got cost more than Anton and his pals combined, but if I use it at least as long as the cheap Ikea chair, I'll get my money's worth. And it was actually right in the middle of the price ranges at the local office supply store, so it's not exactly extravagant as far as office chairs go. And I got to pick out the fabric! And the arms! And they delivered!

Anyway, here it is, right next to Anton (ignore the wall color -- someday I intend to change it):

Awesome New Desk Chair!

You can't really see this unless you "embiggen" the photo, but the fabric has a kind of funky dot pattern that seemed a little mid-century modern to me -- or at least as mid-century as a high-tech, 21st century, ergonomic office chair can get. The other colors were definitely mid-century: avocado green, tealish blue, Wedgwood grey. I got black, though, because I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the rest of the colors in the office, so I figured I'd stay neutral and also match my black filing cabinets. This chair does *not* have a right-sloping seat, though I think the angle I took the picture from makes it seem so. D'oh! Also, I have the arms high and pivoted inward in this picture because I was reading in it before this, resting my elbows on the arms. (If you're looking *really* closely, I have no idea why I stuck those red felt hearts on the desk drawer. I guess I was having a fit of whimsy that day.)

I'm still learning how it all works, which is why, in the background of the picture above, you can see the directions for the chair hanging off a bulletin board on the wall. Check out all the levers for all the adjustable stuff! Look! --


Besides the four you can see on this side, there's another on the left side and one underneath. The back is adjustable in height, of course, and the arms not only pivot, but can be made wider apart -- though I don't think I'll ever need that. And they have soft gel cushions (though I wish the cushions were wider, but these were the only ones that weren't hard plastic). If only the pivoting arms went totally parallel to the back -- then I could get closer to the desk. Bullock may help me raise the desk because right now the arms won't go under it unless I lower the chair so much that I feel like a kid at the grown-up table! (That does work for my keyboard drawer, at least -- just less so for the other half of the desk.)

Right now I'm still fussing with all the adjustments and trying to find the sweet spot for my various tasks. And all this forced sitting up straight is actually making my back ache, ironically enough. Bullock swears this is normal and that I'll get used to it and be better off in the long run. At the very least, my butt is more comfortable than on that sloping piece of 11-year-old junk I had before!


Bonus Pippi picture! This is what Pippi was doing for most of the time I was writing this post:

It's her way of saying, "Feed me!"