Sunday, October 14, 2007


I haven't been feeling very bloggy lately. It hasn't been due to my being a tornado of productivity on professional fronts. Indeed, between moving, getting settled in, having a friend visit, and dealing with a post-all-that malaise, mid-August to mid-October has been the least productive two month period for me since graduate school. All this is further evidence that blogging and professional productivity have this curious curvilinear relationship for me: my less productive times professionally correspond blog-wise to the times when I am posting (relatively) little or a lot.

This past week, I finally switched my e-mail from forwarding from my Northwestern to my Wisconsin account to the reverse. Then today, I switched it back again. I'm having a couple of different problems with Northwestern's e-mail servers. My hope is that these will move toward being resolved when I have a desktop machine running Outlook in my office. I worked out the specs on my computer with staff here on July 17. I've been here since the first week of September. Last week the machine finally arrived, and now I'm waiting for computing staff to install the software. The cause of the delay in getting a machine is not entirely clear to me, other than that the problem was in getting the order actually placed and not with Dell filling the order and shipping it out. Anyway, suffice it to say that this has one more week to resolve itself before I officially Flip Out.

The computing problems are perhaps the most emblematic way I've let myself be thwarted by things from getting off to the best start work-wise here at Northwestern. Accordingly, this afternoon I am writing a little document to myself "Motivational Bull" to articulate my short- and medium-term priorities and try to get myself more oriented toward action rather than whingeing around in my head.* I got the phrase "Motivational Bull" from an earlier post by Chris. Looking back at that now, I realize that he might have meant "bull" in the sense of "bull[bother]". I thought he had meant it like a papal bull--a motivational edict to the self--and thought that was a felicitious and inspiring turn of phrase.

* If I could make four changes to Standard American English, they would be: (1) To make the word "whingeing" commonplace, (2) To make "y'all" standard and free of Southern connotation, (3/4) and to adopt the Australian preferences of "potato gems" for "tater tots" and "fairy floss" for "cotton candy."


kristina b said...

Isn't in annoying how big life changes can really throw you off? I hope it all settles down for you soon.

Brayden said...

So how exactly do you define "whingeing"?

Jay Livingston said...

I know a guy at Columbia who swears by gmail. He has his Columbia e-mail forwarded to his gmail account. He says the gmail search function is so good that he doesn't delete anything, and he doesn't file things in folders.

Ken Houghton said...

"ghost turds" for those packing peanuts probably won't pass, but is suggested.

gmail's database facility almost makes up for its being web-based-only. (give it a few months.)

Tanya said...

As an Australian in the US, I have to agree with you on whingeing. Whining is about the closest to it but it's just doesn't have enough oomph. For Brayden's sake, whinging has more adult dissatisfaction or grumpiness behind it ... whining's what kids do when they are stopped from having a third round of potato gems or fairy floss. Kvetching could be a good substitute but like y'all it seems to be restricted in use.

Maybe we could add to the usefulness of the US / Aus free trade agreement by adding a vocabulary clause ... Americans get whinging and Australians get the wonderfully useful 'dumb-ass'.