Weekend Waste?

Didn’t really do much this past weekend, and now thinking about it on a Monday morning. I probably should have done a bit more in prepping for the week, writing, doing research, but I really just took it easy. I feel a little panicked about it, but that’s just holdover from a time when I would only have a weekend at home every 2 or 3 weeks.

I’m really starting to enjoy my position a lot more now that I’ve cut about 30 hours out of it. The biggest, and most surprising change to me is that I am never exhausted. Over the past 10 years or so my dominant feeling at work has been being tired. Too tired to do anything more than half-assed. After booking a trip, there’s another one to book. Or finances to reconcile. Or some form to complete. It really is the work of two people. The trade-off is now I’m teaching 3 courses, but I’m more alert, energetic, and engaged than I have been the whole time I’ve been a professor. I can see why people really like this job now.

I’ve got the CSPAN conference coming up in Purdue and I feel ready for it. That will be two weeks from today. After that is NCA, then the quick slide into finals and the holidays. The speed of the semester hasn’t changed at all. Once I accomplish a task, two more appear for completion. It’s nice, but I’m not quite back to the comfortable feeling of realization that I’m in charge of my days. I think next semester will be more like that, where if I’d like to spend the day reading a book or a series of essays, I could do that.

Long-time readers of this blog know I’ve been working on a book that attempts to reconceptualize intercollegiate debate. This is a very slow process, although many of the chapters are at about a 50% completion. The opening chapter feels like it’s going to be a slog where I have to set up the scene of debating and such, so I’m saving that for last. But in the meantime another project has popped up that is more time-sensitive, and I think I could write that book - a popular press book - very quickly and get it out in time for the 2020 election. It’s a book about election debate, something I’ve been thinking about a lot since writing this paper for CSPAN.

I’m also considering buying a GoPro 7 to increase or at least get some regular vlogging going. The YiCam is nice, but it’s not quite to the level I’d like it. I think the 7 has a lot of features that benefit a regular vlogging practice and make it a bit easier. I’m starting to think of vlogging as a compliment to the blog, which I’ve often thought of as a form of publishing instead of long-form social media - which is the style of this post.

Although I didn’t accomplish a lot this weekend I feel pretty rested and good about what I did do. My students have been concerned about the persuasive affect they feel from stories and conversation versus the lack of any feeling they have for well-researched statistics. I thought about giving them some Hayden White to read on this but Walter Fisher came to me and I think I found a couple of good essays to teach next week. I also wrote a bunch of recommendation letters in record time - not having debate to worry about makes the workflow so fast that I feel a bit bad about how easily I can accomplish my daily to-do list. It’s a really nice problem to have.

This week for bureaucratic reasons we have the same schedule for two days in a row, which helps nobody except some legal form filer who has to ensure we’ve had X number of hours in the classroom. At least we are doing speeches, so that makes the back-to-back make sense. Just another reason to file away in the stuffed folder of reasons why online higher ed is superior to the in person classroom.