Monday, August 12, 2019

Work Frustration

This summer, my work partner and I redesigned, set up, tested, and then piloted a series of new (teaching) labs. They are not perfect, but they are better than they were.  (These are for, essentially, lab for humanities majors. No, we can't cancel the lab part.) Things change colors! Students get to pick a few variables! They're actually interesting to teach! And so on. I've been teaching this class for years and I am an actual goddamn expert on biochemistry.

The teaching staff is divided about evenly between 'this is great' and 'this is terrible because change is bad and also it might not work perfectly the first time.' I have already spent entire days editing, doing demos, setting things up, going through protocols, and managing people's feelings. (To their credit, my boss's position is These Are The Labs Now, Deal.)

I am tired of this. Labs can't stay the same forever! It is bad pedagogy! We got a grant which obligates us to do this! The whole department is on board! The Dean approved it! I am running out of things to say to people. The competent scientists are all fine with the new labs. The people lacking a basic foundation in science are panicking because they don't understand any of the science. I'm going to go on cheerfully and thank everyone for helping us revise the labs and for being such GREAT sports and generally treat them as if they were super keen but really? I have to treat my colleagues like toddlers?

(If anyone has useful anti-whiner strategy, let me know....)

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

A Feeling of Flailing

As I may have mentioned, I have a new job starting in one month. I'm teaching classes in my speciality, BUT the whole curriculum already exists. Also, the person who teaches the other half of the sections - and has all the materials! - is my spouse, who is a) completely overwhelmed with other work and b) out of town.

I sat down today to look at the syllabus (dates completely messed up), the slides (about 10% are mysteriously blank?!?!), and the other materials (just kidding, nobody sent me that yet). I have a plan and notebooks and I know mostly what I need to do and this is the thing I know the most about in the WHOLE WORLD and yet I suddenly feel extremely not competent. Adventure! I asked for this! Gaaaaaah!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Math, Logic, Maternal Deaths

A set of breathless articles have recently been circulating about how women die from complications of childbirth up to a year after giving birth!

Yes, our healthcare system is a horror show; yes, many maternal deaths are and should be preventable.  However!  They occur for up to a year because that is literally how the CDC defines a childbirth-related death.  Paid parental leave would help, but 2/3 of the deaths are before delivery or within a week.  Better healthcare - and effective treatments for pre-eclampsia! - would help even more. Women don't get good information about their own postpartum health; the standard checkup is six weeks later. Black (and Latina and Native and so on) women die disproportionately, and age and education are no protection.  

I'm all for paid maternal leave, for better healthcare, for equitable treatment of all.  But I don't want people to apply parental leave as a cure-all for something caused by how the numbers are counted.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Suspension of Disbelief, x2

1) Now I have a migraine. Doubting the herbs' preventive properties and attributing it to the steroid taper. Bah.

2) Today I was reading a book featuring interdimensional  travel, magic, and aliens.... when someone sprayed a silver chloride solution.


I mean, look, make up a universe with totally different rules, but if you're going to change fundamental chemical principles.... that's gotta be on purpose!

(Silver chloride is almost completely insoluble in water.)

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Offended by Life

So I've been having these terrible migraines twice a month for a year (every 28 days like clockwork; thanks for nothing, hormones!).

In between a million doctor's appointments I decided - probably in a (properly prescribed) drugged haze - to try a 'migraine supplement'.  One of the ones with herbs and a bunch of random B vitamins in possibly toxic doses.  (Also some enormous dose of magnesium, and I have given up drinking all alcohol, most added sugar, all painkillers, and more than one cup a day of coffee, all of which is also terrible).  The evidence is shaky!  The magnitude of the effect is... not entirely convincing!  But also one migraine lasted for five days.

My friends, I regret to inform you that it might be working.  I do not believe in herbal supplements or shaky observational studies or taking vitamins in normal, healthy adults.  But the migraines are so horrible that I think I have to... keep taking this stupid supplement?   I am deeply offended.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Boring Appliance News

The dryer required six phone calls, five days, three delivery times, and a hefty helping of acerbic annoyance before it was returned to the store.

I still don't have a new dryer.

We put the broken washer on the curb for recycling and some bubba in a pickup promptly hauled it off; nature's own rural recycling force.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Not It

This week I finally received the dryer I ordered three weeks ago.

When I went to plug it in it.... had a wiring diagram. Because it is a gas dryer.

So full is my brain that I wondered for five full minutes if I had ordered a gas dryer by mistake, even after checking my order twice.

Nope! Wrong one delivered! They can replace it in three more weeks!

(I returned it and ordered another, which will arrive in a mere six days. However, I get to enjoy appliance delivery THREE TIMES!)