Monday, February 20, 2012

A New Saturday Ritual

Last Saturday, I was in the mood for an iced tea (as always on Saturday) but didn't feel like going out for lunch or driving to one of our usual haunts out in the suburbs, so I put Robert on the task of finding a good, fresh-brewed iced tea near where we live.  You have to understand: the Midwest is not iced tea country.  We stopped at a Kentucky Fried Chicken for iced tea once and they did not serve it, not even the crappy Lipton out of the fountain.  I mean, seriously?  KFC does not serve iced tea up here?

But Robert came through.  There is a coffee house 2 blocks from here that serves a very nice iced tea - a blend of Earl Grey and English Breakfast tea.  They sell it in 3 sizes.  I got the largest one.  Robert got an utterly decadent and delicious mocha frappe.  There were lots of empty tables, mostly with people quietly working on their laptops but I situated us near a table with 2 kind of loud old guys trying to figure out their laptops where I didn't think we'd bother anybody by talking.  (We talked mostly about adjunct professor pay, inspired by Robert, an ex-adjunct, reading this post on the topic.)  I didn't know how the refills would work and thought they might charge the full price each time (like happens often in bars).  But instead the refills were 55 cents, so that was cool.  I think after-lunch iced tea at the coffee shop down the street is going to be our new Saturday ritual.  (They also sell some food, including a crazy-good looking fruit yogurt parfait and dark chocolate covered espresso beans, both of which are Sally-compatible but that I doubt I'll get any time soon.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Oops, I Guess I Should Edit This To Add a Title...

I think January's two posts represents an all-time low here at EQ, and the first half of February flew by without any posts at all.  [Disapprove]

This semester I am taking two seminars that are half-semester courses (after spring break, I'll be taking two different half-semester seminars in their place) and clearly each professor thinks that the topic is important enough to devote an entire semester to and are unwilling to reduce the coverage of their favorite subject to 50%.  Instead, each one seems to cover about 80% of the material/assignments that you would get in a full semester course.  (This might be a slight exaggeration, but it's definitely a larger work load this semester than last semester, when only one of my seminars worked this way.  It appears that the seminars in my department are all half-semester seminars but the ones in the psychology department are full-semester seminars.)

Other than feeling kind of crazily busy (and hence the weeks are passing so quickly I cannot fathom it), I think things are going pretty well.  The winter weather is being kind to us, at least.

This morning I kind of didn't want to go to my psych seminar at 9:00, but I was looking forward to walking to school in the relatively warm and very sunny weather.  (Relatively warm = my face does not feel cold while I'm walking to school; this happens at about 25 degrees F or so.)  I like walking over to the other side of campus because I can take a route that goes all the way along the river then meets up with the campus from the backside such that I never have to stop at a traffic light.  It was a pleasant walk (although as has been the case most days this winter, the bird life was virtually non-existent; today I heard a few chickadees singing and that was it.  Not even a crow!) and I was in a better mood when I got to class.

And when I got to class, I was on in that way that sometimes happens.  I'm usual a pretty good contributor to the discussion but I was especially good today.  Even adjusting for the fact that my professor tends to give positive feedback to people's comments, I felt very pleased when he responded to one of my questions/criticisms about a hugely important classic paper that we read with, "Were you one of the reviewers on this paper?"  Apparently I had immediately tapped into an issue that people in the area spent years grappling with.  So, I'm getting really good at evaluating other people's research.  It still remains to be seen if I can get any of my own ideas to work out.