Notes on the Start of July

Today didn't go as planned. Not in a bad way, mind you. It was just long. Every errand - and there were a few - took twice as long as they should. In part, this was due to the shoddy driving that happens in these parts.

A word to drivers: first, when you get in the car, before you ever turn the key, think about where you're going and how you're going to get there. Keep this goal in mind when deciding when to change lanes, etc. It's always better to be in the lane you want sooner than later. Second it helps if you start to cut the wheel about a third of the way out of a parking space. If you back straight out all the way, and then start trying to turn, it just holds everyone up. And that makes you both a slow driver and a jackass. Third, it's okay to drive slow. Just do it in the proper lane, and don't get upset if someone starts to pass you. It isn't a statement on your man- or womanhood if they do.

Losing time to errands is frustrating because I'm on the clock for a few things. My book deadline is coming up, and while I'm making progress, it is slower than I'd like. I've realized it is because it feels a bit like busy work. The book is essentially an updated version of my dissertation. But as I've been updating, I've found myself uncomfortable with the idea of leaving ideas in the same way I expressed them in the dissertation. But in a lot of cases - in my background chapter, for example - I was very satisfied with how that came out, so rewording things seems like more work for no good reason. But it seems a bit like plagiarism not to reword them, though I do wonder whether that's the sort of act one can do to one's self.

Wow, I just made plagiarism seem even dirtier. Sweet.

And now I've got an additional writing deadline coming up because I've got an article accepted for an edited collection, but the deadline hits around the same time as the book deadline. So things are hopping here, and that's forcing me to rethink little distractions - like my newly acquired love for the video game "God of War" or my attempts to juggle episodic television shows like "Lost," which I still haven't made it through the first season of. And I've been slowly struggling through the latest by William Gibson, though it isn't because the book isn't good. I'm just not in that zone right now, I suppose. And that's a shame because I did manage a stop at the bookstore where I found three new books to try and get to: Junot Diaz' Drown, Roberto Bolano's The Savage Detectives, and Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible. Thank goodness for faculty discounts and gift cards.

I'm also pretty taken with silicon bakeware; I've been slowly experimenting with baking things with fresh fruit in them (if you do it late enough at night, it's not so bad to have the oven at 400). Nothing truly spectacular yet, but it's been nice to have something sweet to snack on as the days have run.

I did not, however, find a birthday gift for Mom #2. This is because, or so it seems to me, that in spite of all the years and lectures and advice, I know nothing about except that she likes pansies. And I'm pretty sure I've run out of crap with pansies on them to buy for her. And so, the day's at an impasse on that score, and her gift - whatever it is - is going to be late fore sure as she's one of a few folks hanging from the branches of the family tree who has a July 4th birthday.

But, of course, the time I spent putting this up could have been spent re-writing a sentence I wrote three years ago. And so now, I must away.


3 Responses to “Notes on the Start of July”
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Psych Post Doc said...

I blogged about your post. I've heard others talk about these self-plagiarizing feelings before and I'm curious how others feel about it.

July 2, 2008 at 8:44 PM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

Thanks for letting me know; I'm curious, too, and was hoping (if anything in the post would) that would be what would get some comments.

July 2, 2008 at 9:38 PM
Samantha said...

"But, of course, the time I spent putting this up could have been spent re-writing a sentence I wrote three years ago."

Classic Curmudgeon! :)

July 3, 2008 at 11:04 AM