Re: Boredom

1

I miss the stage when I just had to worry about boredom and drudgery. I'm working very hard to get back there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:14 AM
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This is why I've suddenly become obsessed with picking up my old hobby. I need to completely rearrange my life in order to make it practical but I think it's worth it to avoid turning into a potato.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:19 AM
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It's odd. I'm very susceptible to and intolerant of boredom on a "tactical", minute-to-minute level, to the extent that I panic if I don't have some kind of distraction available when I'm walking/travelling from place to place. But I'm very comfortable with "strategic" drudgery, in terms of having a familiar career/life routine.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:25 AM
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4

Booze.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:27 AM
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5

Blogs.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:27 AM
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And movies. (Video games in the distant past).


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:29 AM
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And movies. (Video games in the distant past).


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:29 AM
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Distant, but still close enough to echo.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:32 AM
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The OP strikes a bit of a sore subject, and is what I mean on the times that I say, "I feel old."

Not so much boredom as a resignation towards never having the energy to enjoy much of anything. I don't think this is permanent -- partially I'm still recovering from a taxing 2016, but I feel at least a couple months away from having any pep (and even in good times I'm not a peppy person).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:54 AM
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10

Mmm. Finding time and energy to do non-dull entertaining things is a challenge.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:56 AM
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11

I've staved it off by being a grad student for almost a decade. Instead I have the thrilling feeling of complete terror when I think how I don't know what I'm doing or how I'm earning money next year.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:58 AM
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Blogs and books (and booze).

Also, being in academia helps with this. Periodically teaching a new subject or changing research focus keeps things from getting too stale.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:58 AM
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I am in the process of designing a board game in which various competing political factions contend for dominance of a very large, sparsely populated country, using armoured trains. Options include subverting other players' troops, blowing up bridges, printing propaganda leaflets, stealing the central bank's gold reserves, etc.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:11 AM
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3 sounds at least a bit like me. But A. the nature of my job is such that it's not drudgery as such (some weeks are running around, some are office-bound; some are churning out a big drawing set, some are keeping 10 projects moving forward at once), and B. AB and I have made a fairly conscious decision to keep extracurriculars (for the kids and us) to a minimum, so we don't have the drudgery of soccer practice or music lessons*. The effect of the latter is that our week-to-week schedules are variable, that we have room for spontaneity (although we're not super-spontaneous people, truthfully), and that we're rarely constrained if something comes up that we really want to do (e.g. the weekend before last was gorgeous, so we made a day trip to the Laurel Highlands for a picnic & hike).

The most drudgery-like thing in our lives (other than laundry, I think AB would argue) is the restaurant reviews, because they never stop coming. Last week there was literally one night that we weren't scheduled (very rare), and that meant that was the night we *had* to go out. But obviously that's drudgery like being smothered by kittens is torture.

*the kids do take piano, but the teacher comes to our house once a week and is done by the time I'm done working for the day


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:12 AM
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1 is my strategy, having enough crises running simultaneously that it's all either drudgery or that. I'm not actually a fan.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:14 AM
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16

In exciting news in my current job I bought something awesome for very close to one million USD. And not for the first time, but probably for the last time.


Posted by: Paul Atreides | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:17 AM
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Here's the other thing: we have (I think) a very nice rhythm of family tradition and unplanned stuff. So we go to a cabin in the woods (almost) every MLK weekend with another family; we drive and camp out to my sister in Boulder every other summer; we go to the beach in Erie most years around Labor Day; a few others. But those things are every few months, and in between, we might be complete homebodies or do a big project or do a trip we've never done before (between Xmas and New Years we made a 30 hour escape down to DC, staying with friends we haven't seen in 7 years). The friends we do the cabin with are resistant to that kind of tradition, but they also have much, much more busy lives, such that the tradition becomes an obligation, and they'd rather be spontaneous when they can. But by keeping our daily lives fairly free, we reduce the pressure on any given bigger event.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:18 AM
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13 I want to play the Czechs!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:18 AM
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13: I don't see how you can work in such a vast expanse of possibilities and not incorporate ekranoplans. Is that at least slated for the expansion edition? Perhaps an archipelagic country, or one with many inland seas?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:19 AM
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20

13: Don't forget the ploughs!


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:23 AM
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21

I am not at that point - not having kids makes it a difference in kind, I suspect - but I'm taking stock of my life post-weight-loss and noticing that the routines I've built up take a surprising amount of daily time expenditure. In particular, I've gotten used to breakfasts that take about an hour to make, eat, and clean. I also do a lot of prep-work on weekends, which makes lunches very fast, and same with the main dishes for dinners, but then I surround those main dishes with a bunch of other stuff that pushes up that time too. And I'm wondering if I'm going to get sick of it and want to throw in the towel at some point.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:23 AM
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I'm pretty okay with both forms of drudgery; I'm the more demanding of cleanliness in our couple, but my bar is pretty low so tactical drudgery isn't terrible. I do get a bit of satisfaction from putting things in order, or bringing cleanliness to a dirty stretch--but not so much that it doesn't slide into disorder before I stir enough to make an effort.

Professionally, there's a three year cycle of new codes--about a year of cramming the changes and adjusting reviews to catch the changes, then two years of coasting with codes that most designers and I are all familiar with.

Socially, I like to build warm stable groups and enjoy common pastimes (often board gaming or roleplaying) for months and years--steadily rotating in new games, but keeping the same types of activity, until life changes of the members alter the group composition or interfere too much with scheduling.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:26 AM
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13. Sounds good, but don't forget to credit Felix Gilman.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:28 AM
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I had to read the post a couple of times before I understood. A routine where every day is like the one before it is exactly what I want, so "cope" wasn't making sense. But to the point, I guess this is why people have hobbies.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:30 AM
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In particular, I've gotten used to breakfasts that take about an hour to make, eat, and clean.

What are you eating for breakfast? To be worth the time, it must be good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:34 AM
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If you apply the milk to the corn flakes with a mist sprayer, it takes time. But the effort is worth it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:35 AM
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25: I recall a Nero Wolf story where he claims it takes 30 minutes to properly make scrambled eggs.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:37 AM
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28

There's boredom and there's drudgery. I am uncommonly good at doing nothing, but going to an office to do uninteresting things every day often feels like a kind of death.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:38 AM
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29

I was guessing something smoothie-related, since cleanup is a factor.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:38 AM
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20: done. And the armoured drasines. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draisine

23: indeed. I want to include elements from the Boer War and US and Russian Civil Wars, so Gilman and also Winston Churchill (My Early Life), David Lean (Dr Zhivago), Peter Hopkirk (Setting the East Ablaze), various authors on the Czecho-Slovak Legion.

19: ekranoplans are the wrong period, alas. And I'm not sure how suitable they are to an expand/build/explore/fight strategy game. An ekranoplan board game would be set on a limitless ocean with a few islands, on which rival ground-effect privateer/traders race from port to port at hundreds of knots, exchanging salvos of missiles.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:43 AM
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Due to longish commutes and a fussy kid, we'd for quite a while been eating a lot of take-away and making the same few stodgy dishes when we did cook. We've recently started to make a point of cooking more often to more varied recipes, putting on music and having a glass of wine while doing so, etc. Makes for a much more pleasant routine.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:48 AM
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Two basic breakfasts that alternate through the week.

1. Bacon veggie scramble. Two strips of bacon chopped, one cup of mushrooms, smaller amounts of tomatoes, onions, and green pepper, saute then pour over mixture of three eggs, 0.2oz grated parmesan, 2T half-and-half.
2. Fruit-and-yogurt. 1c grapes, 1c strawberries, and either 3oz berries or 1 banana, all chopped and mixed in a bowl with 0.75c Greek yogurt. Usually two strips of bacon on the side.

Moka pot coffee, fresh-ground, also adds to prep time.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:51 AM
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various authors on the Czecho-Slovak Legion.
Anything good? I'm reading shit almost entirely at random right now. Like wiki-walking, but whole books. Yes, I am bored.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:54 AM
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30.3: Oh, you're going for realism. OK.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:58 AM
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34: more just that if you have ekranoplans in a game, they will naturally tend to dominate it to the exclusion of all other components (much as happens if you have BRIAN BLESSED! in your play), and I don't want the armoured trains to be overshadowed...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:01 AM
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36

David Lean (Dr Zhivago)

It sounds like David Lean (Bridge On The River Kwai) is also relevant.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:01 AM
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I don't want the armoured trains to be overshadowed...

I must confess. When you say that I'm picturing the cover from Iron Dragon.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:03 AM
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And David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia), assuming chevauchées receive their proper place.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:05 AM
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35: Volume II then?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:06 AM
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Yes, there will be an option to rally the indigenous inhabitants (unspecified whether Yakut, Sioux, Arab or Xhosa) to your side and get a bit of tulip-mining done...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:09 AM
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19: ekranoplans are the wrong period, alas. And I'm not sure how suitable they are to an expand/build/explore/fight strategy game. An ekranoplan board game would be set on a limitless ocean with a few islands, on which rival ground-effect privateer/traders race from port to port at hundreds of knots, exchanging salvos of missiles.

Isn't that basically Merchants of Venus, but on a single planet?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:12 AM
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You can use ekranoplans in the exact same setting, just post-sealevel rise.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:17 AM
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30.2 Great stuff. Don't forget Ungern-Sternberg. James Palmer, who I'm sure you've read, emphasises the roll of the railways in his "campaign".


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:17 AM
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The rails must roll.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:18 AM
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37: I like the sound of Iron Dragon, but it sounds a bit too constructive, all about building and trading and making money; a civil war game should be about destruction. I've worked out a simple combat system that ensures every fight is negative-sum.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:18 AM
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Heebie, association of routine with boredom is interesting, and different from my experience, although I, too, structure my life to avoid boredom. That is, I set up a pretty structured routine, which involves waking up early when I have energy for exercise and routine tasks, working super duper hard until pretty late, feeding kids when applicable, then going to bed at like 9, unless I need to work more. Weekends, if I have them, are for friends. If I need to structure my own nighttime hours I go crazy--boredom turns into overthinking, overthinking turns into poison. Also if my job doesn't keep me super busy, crazy. Weekends, when I have them, are for friends and/or nature. Diversions (books, shows, etc.) are present, but are unreliable distractions, I often get bored with them in the middle.

I guess that creates a "boring" (and self-centered) life from the perspective of my 16-year-old-self; no travel or late nights, not that much art experienced or created, skimpy on activism and community, square AF job central to identity, but it's emotionally rich and nuanced and it's satisfying to feel like I've learned enough about myself to create this routine.

I'm going to LA by myself with no plans at all next month and I am curious to see how I deteriorate/transcend.

(PS I got a new job starting in a few weeks it seems great, it's basically exactly the job everyone told me I should get in the job advice ATM like 18 months ago, way to manifest.)


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:19 AM
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47

I hadn't realised that armoured draisines were actually a thing. Made my day.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:20 AM
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Definitely travel which I've been doing quite a bit of, but with us about to open in the fall that's been curtailed quite a bit despite the very generous leave polices. Hence the booze.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:24 AM
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49

And the Dubai weekends.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:26 AM
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50

46.last: Hooray.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:34 AM
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I like the sound of Iron Dragon, but it sounds a bit too constructive, all about building and trading and making money

Yes, it's a fantasy "re-skin" of an existing genre of rail-building game.

(PS I got a new job starting in a few weeks it seems great, it's basically exactly the job everyone told me I should get in the job advice ATM like 18 months ago, way to manifest.)

Congratulations!


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:36 AM
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Congrats Clytie!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:37 AM
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53

Stab 'em dead, Clytie!


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:41 AM
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46 last is great stuff! But I can't for the life of me remember what the MS told you to do.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:42 AM
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Something about inheritance law.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:43 AM
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Small litigation boutique firm that spun off from bigger firm, partners are people I know and like, place has a bit of a figuring-it-out-as-we-go-along vibe. I'm not the only associate but close to it. A bit frustrating that Doing Good doesn't dovetail entirely with job so that I don't have to think about those things separately, but I negotiated a structure for doing some pro bono work. And more money to throw at people actually doing good things?


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:53 AM
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Good luck suing the boutiques out of existence.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:00 AM
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Sounds fantastic. The core of the thing is "partners I know and like", everything else flows from there.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:00 AM
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To answer Heebie's question: having regrets. For me, having been very stupid and irresponsible, capped by fucking up big time on the job I was born to do, trained to do, desperately wanted to do, got despite intense competition for it, and was actually good at so they told me they regretted having to fire me as a valuable asset but weren't going to pursue anything legal .... once kids came along, telling myself that I was meeting my responsibilities was more intoxicating than any of the acid or cocaine I ever took.

The kids are now all well grown and on their own. One of my younger cousins was talking about her 18 year old son and asked "so when can you pursue your dreams if not at 16?" To which I answered, how about at 65+ when you've sublimated all your urges for >30 yeras and are now free again to be stupid and irresponsible. Don't let anyone tell you that old age doesn't have its recompenses.


Posted by: No Longer Middle Aged Man | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:02 AM
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To answer Heebie's question: having regrets. For me, having been very stupid and irresponsible, capped by fucking up big time on the job I was born to do, trained to do, desperately wanted to do, got despite intense competition for it, and was actually good at so they told me they regretted having to fire me as a valuable asset but weren't going to pursue anything legal .... once kids came along, telling myself that I was meeting my responsibilities was more intoxicating than any of the acid or cocaine I ever took.

The kids are now all well grown and on their own. One of my younger cousins was talking about her 18 year old son and asked "so when can you pursue your dreams if not at 16?" To which I answered, how about at 65+ when you've sublimated all your urges for >30 yeras and are now free again to be stupid and irresponsible. Don't let anyone tell you that old age doesn't have its recompenses.


Posted by: No Longer Middle Aged Man | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:02 AM
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I also straight up said "I am sorry to even ask this but are the men here gross, because I am very much over that scene" in interviews and got the answer "you SHOULD ask that, and ew, no." Of course they'll say no, but the "you SHOULD ask that" is encouraging.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:04 AM
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Making notes....

Wait a few year re cocaine/LSD.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:05 AM
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63

... Can ask 'how hot my potential coworkers are' in a job interview.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:06 AM
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64

.... wear pants rolled. I grow old.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:07 AM
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Given that I'd already seen all the men at that time I think they got I meant "are they sleazy" rather than "are they hot" but either way it works out fine for me.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:08 AM
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I do spend a bit of time dreaming about how I won't even be 65 when the girls are out of the house (inshallah) and what wonderful quiet and pleasure I can have then. Today's version of this reverie was prompted by having a new dishwasher installed, though, which is how sad my life is. I'm trying to do better, really.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:09 AM
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67

I will be forty-eight when Newt goes to college. At which point it'll be just me and the cats. This would be a more appealing prospect if I liked the cats more. Maybe I can persuade Newt to bring the cats to college with him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:17 AM
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68

But you have three dishwashers already.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:18 AM
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67: If you release them outside in the winter, they might get to be in a commercial with Sarah McLachlan songs played over them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:24 AM
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I'd really be standing in their way not to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:26 AM
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67 oh god this just made me realize I might be stuck with the stupid animals after the kids are gone. What an unpleasant revelation they're not even goats.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:32 AM
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68: This will make things sanitary and in theory not make me lose my mind and/or temper. Worth the money.

I'll be 50 when Selah finishes school, so similar to LB's timeline. I am trying to hold the line on no puppy after our 12-year-old dog dies, but I'm not sure how long I'll truly last.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:36 AM
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And yet if you ask the shelter only to show you don't that will die within a year or two of your kid going to college, they put you on a list.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:36 AM
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74

My Japanese sister-in-law discovered what freedom is in the United States -- "your kids leave home and your dog dies."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:37 AM
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75

If your truck breaks down it's also a country song.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:40 AM
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76

The tree of liberty is watered with the blood of canines.


Posted by: Opinionated Dog Murderer | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:41 AM
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I'll be 54 when Rascal goes to college.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:42 AM
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We've rounded some sort of corner where everything is so much more fun. They're all verbal and mobile. The squabbling is still out of control, but out of the 6 kid-pair-relationships, only 1 is currently a disaster.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:44 AM
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That comment brought to you by the startling realization that I didn't feel the need to tack on [sigh] or [ugh] to comment 77.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:45 AM
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6 kid-pair-relationships,

This is such a mathematician way of putting it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:46 AM
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81

Just occurred to me how typically sexist of Bob Dylan, it was to assume that carpenters' wives couldn't be mathematicians.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:55 AM
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82

33. Cecil Parrott's biography of Hasek is good. His translation of Svejk less so. There's a pdf of the biography.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:56 AM
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I'm kind of stuck on the "stable routine" part of the OP, for a couple of reasons.

The routine, such as it is, will change up (when kid starts public school this fall, for example). That might be the last such change for a while, but dealing with school vacations, summer, etc. will mean a lot of juggling, compared to the nice year-round preschool situation.

There are also many aspects (5:45 alarm, ugh) of the routine that are undesirable in their own right, and that masks any unhappiness with the routine-ness of it. I'm not bored of getting up at 5:45, I just never want to do it.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:57 AM
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74: freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose, feed, vaccinate, worry about or clean up after.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:03 PM
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Thank you for 82, LW! Congrats to Clytie. No comment on what I do to avoid boredom beyond "neither generalizable nor recommended". I guess the benign version is "constant striving"? I don't do the benign version.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:04 PM
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Thanks lw.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:06 PM
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87

78: I eagerly await them complaining about each other's spouses.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:19 PM
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88

I actually would really love a routine. I want to stop procrastinating and start working like a normal person. Instead I do almost nothing for weeks, and then do, like 50 hours of work in a 50 hour period. I'm working on revising/expanding a paper I have been procrastinating on for months, and which I was finally given a deadline for (of yesterday, but I was the one who asked for the deadline). Now that I'm working on it I'm actually enjoying the work, AND everything is taking 10X how long I thought. (Some of it is realizing I need to do more research while writing, and some of it is I have to relearn all the latex stuff I've forgotten. Just spent almost half an hour trying to get bibtex to work, only to realize the problem was I had to similarly named files and had made changes to the wrong one.)

Anyways, I'd done a bunch of data collection, but I only started seriously revising the paper yesterday at about 4 pm, and then I worked almost solidly on it until 6 am. I've been working on it again today since 11 am (up at 9:30 for a dental appt). I'm hoping to finish by 6 pm today since I have plans to get drinks, and it's going to be tight.

I honestly don't know if I can be an academic if I don't learn better work habits.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:24 PM
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^two


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:25 PM
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90

Writing is the only way I can plausibly do anything of any significance whatsoever, but I procrastinate like a buttercup and dear god but that shit is poisonous. So here I am instead, reading about the Free French at 3:30am. (De Gaulle: Christ, what an asshole. I'm reminded of Mao.)


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:29 PM
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88: Here is the best advice for a fuzzy deadline like a dissertation: Just keep starting. Every single day you must make forward progress. It doesn't matter how little, but you have to start, every day.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:30 PM
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(When you get that semantic satiation thing with the word "start" it begins to sound gross.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:30 PM
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93

To write a dissertation, do what I wouldn't.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:41 PM
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So no drinks. Sorry BC.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:43 PM
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88 last: Wait a minute, do you need good work habits to be an academic? No one told me.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:47 PM
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96

I think I've mentioned this before, but when I was a student I didn't have great work habits and I was slightly embarrassed about it and not sure how to change it -- I cared about my work, but for some reason that care never manifested as having enough time to edit or revise as I should have.

Then, post-school, I started doing contract programming work and my habits improved dramatically. That was, in part, because time was money and it made scheduling much more important. But it also made me realize, in retrospect, that part of my problem with academic work was that I never had a well defined scope of work and I kept giving in to inviting scope creep. I'd keep turning things over in my head and wanting to add new observations or arguments and never had a clear sense of what "done" looked like.

With contract work it was much simpler; I just had to deliver what they were willing to pay for, and there was (generally) no reason to make it more complicated than that. Much less stressful, and probably a sign that I made the right decision to not go to grad school.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:48 PM
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Buttercup, you are fantastically disciplined about money. Is there any way to leverage that into time discipline? It is a similar economy in many ways (not in others).


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:50 PM
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For a minute my info didn't come up and I thought about presidentially asking about child support/custody stuff, but I won't derail yet. I might later, though. Having to manage relationships with a horrible person is the least-satisfying part of any of this and I don't see any way around that at this point.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:52 PM
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Congrats to Clytie and NLMAM.

Balancing ambition and contentment is tricky. There's the jokey aphorism, "I love humanity but I hate people." I feel something similar about work goals-- work itself is fine, many collaborators are delightful, but a few key social realities of collaborative work make it tough for me to maintain the requisite level of enthusiasm. But I see that other people manage to keep their motivation without becoming monomaniacal, monstrous or morose. Maybe more meditation.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 12:53 PM
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Or this hourlong loop of the drums in "In the Air Tonight" rather than a braying coworker trying to schedule something medical quite personal and not pleasant to listen to.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 1:25 PM
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Thanks for all the advice guys!

96
Yeah, this is definitely my problem. I'm like, "I have to know everything there ever is to know about China," and then I either do totally irrelevant research to my project or just completely give up in despair and surf the internet for 12 hours a day. Ditto with writing journal articles or any other open-ended task.

97
I used to be, if not better, much much busier so everything I had to do had a much shorter turnaround time, which squashed the ability for procrastination to loom out of control, and I still had a sense of hard deadlines. My favorite quarter in grad school was when I was taking 5 classes and working as an RA. I was so busy I didn't have time to drop any balls.*

I fell off the wagon end of my fourth year, when I realized grad student deadlines meant nothing, and I've kind of stayed off the wagon for a long time. I feel like I need to get back more of the protestant self-denial I had, but it's hard now that I know I don't have to live a spartan life of industriousness ruled by my super ego. Currently I live the life of complete sloth, and use my super ego to make me feel bad about myself but not enough to actually change my behavior.

*I also got a reputation for being fantastically on top of it among faculty in the department, which I feel is now biting me in the ass. I feel like my one advisor is like, if you could successfully do an insane amount of work with lots of time commitments, why can't you write a dissertation when it is literally your only responsibility right now?


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 2:22 PM
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90

I also procrastinate in exactly the same way you do.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 2:25 PM
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I feel like mailing in my dissertation so far and asking for comments without mentioning the dozen years of no contact.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 2:51 PM
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Minivet - might be good to try for efficiencies to stave off frustration, boredom, then you can always luxuriate in taking time to cook or get it done quickly just as you like.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 3:02 PM
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Delurking to inquire politely if the shop in 56 is the new M/T/O spinoff.... Feel free to ignore if too prying.


Posted by: Cass | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 3:12 PM
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Delurking to inquire politely if the shop in 56 is the new M/T/O spinoff.... Feel free to ignore if too prying.


Posted by: Cass | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 3:12 PM
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Delurking to inquire politely if the shop in 56 is the new M/T/O spinoff.... Feel free to ignore if too prying.


Posted by: Cass | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 3:12 PM
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And also apparently to vigorously spam!


Posted by: Cass | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 3:13 PM
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103

Is your committee still alive?


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 3:14 PM
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Three of four. Two of four if Canada doesn't count.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 3:15 PM
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The fucking pilot is blaming "the federal bureaucracy" for the potential flight delay. Apparently, there's a tornado in Chicago or some shit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 3:18 PM
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Is "dead or Canadian" still a thing?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 3:20 PM
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111: NOAA creates tornadoes just to give themselves something to do. Typical government make-work.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 3:24 PM
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On the tarmac for another hour. Will they sell me a whisky?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 3:36 PM
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Woman next to me is using so much corporate jargon that I want to denounce Neoliberals.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 3:39 PM
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My phone feels very strongly about capitalizing that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 3:40 PM
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Speaking of boredom ... jury sworn, having to sit through selection of alternates, so so so over this and god these seats are torture.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 4:00 PM
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101: My dissertation defense is less than two months away and I'm still operating this way. I mean, what better time to delurk on Unfogged than now, when seriously every damn thing has to get done? It's nuts.


Posted by: Kymyz Mustache | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 4:02 PM
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117 -- Are you lawyer, juror, or defendant today?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 4:08 PM
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In jury pool. Soooooo close to being excused!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 4:11 PM
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Flight attendant brought water but no drink-drink.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 4:14 PM
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I was so busy I didn't have time to drop any balls.*

Lin-Manuel Miranda has used the line, "There's an adage if you want something done ask a busy person to do it because they're already in motion."

I recognize that in my own life; there are times when I'm constantly busy and it just feels natural and then, when I do stop, I'm have weeks where it feels like an effort to muster the energy to feed myself. . . .


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 4:16 PM
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28 is where I am. But I am embarrassed by the whole thing because I now have it really good but can hardly stand it. I spent most of my life careening from one near disaster or job or educational experience (sometimes all applied) with little income or security until fifteen years ago I started a business. I then flirted with bankruptcy for a few years until things started rolling and now at 60, I have adequate money and security but am bored out of my mind. Business is for sale and I am looking for a new adventure.


Posted by: Out West | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 4:16 PM
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Never underestimate the desire of prospective jurors to yammer on about themselves.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 4:16 PM
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That's because the legal system insists on using humans for jurors.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 4:21 PM
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123: Join the Peace Corps? (If it still exists under Trump?) When I was in, it was half just out of college kids like me, but the rest had a lot of early retirees, and they were four times as useful as we were, because they knew stuff and people respected them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 4:21 PM
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I also procrastinate in exactly the same way you do.

All unfogged commenters procrastinate in the same way, but...


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 4:31 PM
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Never underestimate the desire of prospective jurors to yammer on about themselves.

God, don't get me started. Worst juror yet was the one who burst into tears and revealed leaving her kids unattended would be too much stress and she would be physically unable to handle it...after she was selected and the rest of the alternates had been dismissed and left the building. It's a miracle everyone didn't rise up and beat her to death.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 4:32 PM
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126: That is one of the things we have considered. We, being my new spouse and myself, have considered this option or something similar (she is not actually new, but she has recently become my spouse). She recently retired from a successful engineering career because she had reached an unacceptable boredom level. It seems it is generally hard to advance past a certain level without having to manage people. We both hate managing people.


Posted by: Out West | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 4:44 PM
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If "boredom" is the alternative to constant mid-level anxiety about how either my partner or I could lose our job because some random senior colleague decides they don't care enough about keeping us around, and we might have to face the brutal job market all over again, but with a bigger hurdle than the first time... I'll take boredom.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 5:11 PM
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Topically, I'm still sitting on a plane that has yet to leave the ground since I boarded.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 5:11 PM
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I have no idea if I will make my connection because United's website won't acknowledge the flight I'm on is delayed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 5:15 PM
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118: I wondered what had brought you around here and that explains it. Welcome! You obviously already fit right in!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 5:17 PM
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I am working insanely hard at the moment, but yeah, bored a lot. Not with work, most of the time. But I have so little time and no time alone,* so I can't really do anything interesting in the tiny bit of free time I have.

Watch a bit of TV, sometimes read a a bit of a book. That's about it.

I have lots of interests, and if i had free time, I'd happily fill it wandering about, reading, playing guitar, cooking, etc.

* the lack of solitude is by far the worst thing about marriage and child. I sometimes fear it'll literally drive me crazy. Just being married was fine, because I still had some time to myself each week. Now, if my wife isn't here, I'm doing childcare. Which I like fine enough, but still. The lack of being alone is mentally exhausting.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 5:17 PM
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And if I do get there, it's going to be awful. See 1.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 5:17 PM
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134.last is exactly my problem. The latest plan is that rather than just collapsing once the girls go to sleep and feeling guilty that I'm accomplishing nothing, I officially make that my rest and rejuvenation time where accomplishing nothing is the goal. But I'm dying both to talk to an actual adult and to have some quiet.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 5:20 PM
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Or, in the 10 minutes here and there I do have, I make plans to by cool little things that I covet, and which aren't expensive enough to climb out of 'whim' money.*

Mostly old fountain pens, and watches.

* i.e. the cost of a night in the pub, or a meal out for two somewhere not expensive.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 5:21 PM
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I adore the guys, as is nauseatingly obvious I know, BUT any scrap of time absolutely alone in the house is so amazeballs.

For non-partner adult interaction I've taken to setting lunch dates with friends *during* the current lunch date, otherwise I look up and haven't seen a friend in months.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 5:26 PM
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133: Thanks, Thorn! Between my version of Buttercup's having to know everything there ever is to know about China and my version of 134.last's childcare-exhaustion, this sub-thread is like me all over. I must be in the right place.


Posted by: Kymyz Mustache | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 5:33 PM
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139: Fruit basket! That is, "here, have one" not some assertion about your mental state.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 5:37 PM
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They opened the sealed box labeled specifically for long delays on the tarmac. The flight attendant used my keys to open it as I was back there begging for scotch (successfully). Inside the box: Marcellus's soul and cookies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 5:53 PM
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130
"If "boredom" is the alternative to constant mid-level anxiety about how either my partner or I could lose our job because some random senior colleague decides they don't care enough about keeping us around, and we might have to face the brutal job market all over again, but with a bigger hurdle than the first time... I'll take boredom."

Been there. Felt the same way at the time. The stress and anxiety keep ratcheting up and you think you can't take any more but you do. I think you adapt to it and eventually, assuming you happen to make a few fortunate decisions at lifes crossroads, everything sorts itself out and the seas get a little smoother and you will have a hard time staying awake.


Posted by: Out West | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 5:55 PM
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Seems there was an article some time back about CEO's sabotaging their companies because things were running too smoothly and they couldn't stand not having enough crises to keep them on edge.


Posted by: Out West | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 6:01 PM
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Mostly cookies. Isn't there some new rule about how long they can stick me here? This is purely academic. If I can sit and read plus somebody gives me whisky, I'm not going to complain.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 6:05 PM
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Now, after wasting most of the day, it is time for me to stress a little about not getting anything done and pound out a day's work in the next hour or two.


Posted by: Out West | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 6:06 PM
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Just reading Kymz and Buttercup is making me almost literally nauseous. Yet still I entertain daydreams about restarting academia. Life satisfaction, I have it not.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 6:11 PM
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A big driver of grad student procrastination is the fact that the reward for working hard is to face the job market, where you will suffer humiliation and in some fields almost certain failure, and the reward for slacking off is that you get to read extremely interesting books for weeks on end and enjoy the life of the mind. Some exaggeration here, obviously, but the situational perversity can get pretty extreme. Who would not put off getting to the end, where they take your bright-eyed dissertation and ritually murder it and send you off with a shovel and a box... sorry, did you want tactical advice?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 6:27 PM
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147 is right, except that it ignores playing Civ.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 6:29 PM
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147 - Who would not put off getting to the end, where they take your bright-eyed dissertation and ritually murder it and send you off with a shovel and a box...

The problem is that you know where all the weak spots are in that dissertation but don't know what to do about it and you are pretty sure at least one of your committee members is bright enough to notice those spots. Maybe they won't give you a shovel and a box but after sufficiently humiliating you, offer a suggestion.

Then there was the stress of later serving on one of those committees and thinking that this kid is a lot brighter than I am, can't let him show me up.


Posted by: Out West | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 6:56 PM
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The incentives are all backwards here. Obviously what one should do is annually force all sitting faculty to defend their year's publications against a board of grad students. Losers have their throats cut with a golden sickle to enter the job market.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 7:04 PM
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146

Stay away for your own good! Sell out! Go corporate!

147

This is spot on. I did my first foray into the job market, which was possibly the most depressing thing I've ever done.* I wasted all of autumn quarter applying for jobs, and I really really would rather not have to think about jobs and focus on my research, even though not graduating means I'll have to cobble together money through teaching next year.

*I am at arguably the top program in my field, have won several major highly competitive research grants, and my committee filled with famous people all loves my work. I can't get so much as an interview at a place like Southwestern Indiana State. In any other field I would have some sort of decent guaranteed employment at the end of my training. It's so utterly depressing to think that I put all this time and effort and stress into something that's a dead end, or at best results in a middle-class career in a place I don't really want to live. It's actually kind of too awful to contemplate.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 7:10 PM
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I have a solo publication in each of the top two journals of my subfield, each like a year's equivalent of unpaid labor. That only makes sense as part of a deal in which somebody hires me this year. Which is to say, it looks like it doesn't make sense. Hey, not like I wanted the last decade of my life to count towards a career or anything!

I might have more perspective on this once my defense is done, so maybe don't ask me about selling out and going corporate now. (Sell out and go corporate.)


Posted by: Kymyz Mustache | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 7:38 PM
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I can't get so much as an interview at a place like Southwestern Indiana State.

They don't think you'll stay, and they don't want to waste the search on someone who (they presume) can't teach. Plus side, if you get hired there, you'll be so busy teaching that you might get your productivity mojo back.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 7:51 PM
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hello,
nice site


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:13 PM
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is this the thread for obsessing about Mitch McConnell's wattle


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:13 PM
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Are we talking here wattle-and-daub or just plain wattle?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:24 PM
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Standpipe!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:25 PM
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I am experiencing dissertation anxiety from the other side. (I didn't experience it at all back when I was a student.) At least some of my colleagues view graduating students as an important prerequisite for tenure. My students seem to be in grad school mostly as a strategy for landing a job in a more lucrative field, and don't seem to spend more than a few hours a month on their research. My research funds are being drained to pay them, but the burden of pushing their research to the point that I can get them out the door with a degree is falling mostly on me.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:42 PM
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Have you tried smashing the desk in front of them?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 8:52 PM
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omg, I would love to be bored, but the insane demands of my job, two failed job searches, and my two children, who have decided to engage on a scorched earth battle of "stop, no you stop, I hate you, no I hate you," escalating to kicking and shoving for 90% of the last month has me worn to a frazzle.


Posted by: Miranda | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:04 PM
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159 to 160.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:15 PM
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what if standpipe has been a graduate student all this time


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:32 PM
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OT: If you had to spend the night in O'Hare, where is the best place to do so? Asking for a friend.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:35 PM
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No hotel voucher? They stuck us in a nearby hotel the one night we were stranded there.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:38 PM
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It may have been my friend's fault.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:41 PM
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the reward for slacking off is that you get to read extremely interesting books for weeks on end and enjoy the life of the mind

This is not at all how I experienced not getting stuff done in grad school. But then I was really isolated and fucking hated that about grad school, so reading books I'd never have a conversation about or do anything with was also utterly pointless. Eventually I started killing time by driving longer routes to out of the way supermarkets and gas stations, or just aimlessly driving to places in the area that I'd never been to.* String together enough delays here and there and you can get a lot of a day out of the way without having to think much about anything.

*This turned out to be a useful way of finding places to go hiking, which I didn't do back then, but eventually did years later.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:42 PM
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Your friend should have tried harder to delay the plane in a way that would result in a night in jail, obviously.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:46 PM
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That would be cheaper than the Hilton attached to the airport.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:51 PM
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I both love routine, hate change, but also hate boredom and get bored with things relatively easily. I feel slightly guilty about it - but having only 50% custody gives me precious alone time and time for dating (currently dating a 29 year old and often combine c-span/PBS Newshour and sex). Also my job as a Health Actuary working on ACA related things has been very interesting and challenging with something changing all the time and real world stakes of people's lives and tens of millions of dollars.

After the crazy stressful custody drama of last year I am feeling comparatively so grateful for a relatively drama free life for now. Ex still is immature and a drama magnet but at least now we have a very black and white parenting plan and I am relatively good at only engaging on logistical questions.


Posted by: RebeccaS | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 9:53 PM
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169.1 is me.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:19 PM
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And Buttercup... yep. I'm sorry and I don't know the secret. I didn't have the guts to do it, as I've said -- I took one look and decided to bail (then made the mistake of trying to bail in three or four different directions simultaneously, a strategy which also does not discourage procrastination). Even the success stories usually involve three or four tense years of despair, and the irony of not being able to focus on your work because you're so busy with the soul-killing job applications. FWIW my data here is all about humanities fields -- I know it's bad in other areas too, but differently bad.

I do think we need to find a way to fund and support academic research that isn't tied to tenure-track university teaching jobs, because that's becoming a serious bottleneck. For the humanities, I had some idea early in grad school of universities offering low-cost affiliations/fellowships for scholars who would be self-supporting at some other day job: they'd get a library card, maybe the university would pay the employer for occasional absences, they'd have some formal structure of workshops and collegial activities within their adopted department, etc.... possibly they could help the undergrads get jobs and internships, at least run informational interviews, and so on. I never figured out how it would work. It has been years since I kept up with the endless hand-wringing debate, but sources tell me the job market is worse now than when I got off the carousel in 2010 or so.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:27 PM
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I now have the freedom to cultivate exciting reading habits I couldn't indulge in while a grad student. In recent months, I've read books about international standards, the shipping container, and am almost done with a book about the property tax revolt.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 10:30 PM
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I would read a book about shipping containers. (I've been curling up at night with The Horse, the Wheel, and Language, missing figures and all.)

It is interesting to consider the possibility that being more or less in the same place as I was a year ago is not grounds for a massive existential crisis, and that for some people it might be a desirable state of affairs. Yep. Wow.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:00 PM
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Aren't we smug.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 02-28-17 11:35 PM
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I would read a book about shipping containers.

It's good!


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 1:28 AM
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There should be another book about shipping containers, so hipsters can prefer the other one.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 4:22 AM
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I believe this book has things to say about containers.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 4:54 AM
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The shipping container book is great, don't listen to Walt.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 5:32 AM
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Tupperware/Rubbermaid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 5:37 AM
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So, sleeping in an airport is unpleasant.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 5:39 AM
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s/unpleasant/impossible/, IME


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 5:45 AM
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often combine c-span/PBS Newshour and sex

Aha! I knew I was doing it wrong.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 6:18 AM
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Give her the old MacNeil Leer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 6:42 AM
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Lift until you're buff enough to be a Gwen Eyefull.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 6:44 AM
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That's it. I refuse to make a David Brooks-related sexual pun.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 6:48 AM
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184: NMM, you monster!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 6:48 AM
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186 More like NMMM as per 169.1..


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 7:30 AM
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178: I'm not wrong -- it's the hipsters who are wrong.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 7:53 AM
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Apropos nothing, rewatching The Private Life of Plants (still pretty fucking great) and amused to think what all that time-lapse footage would have done to H.P. Lovecraft. Literal shivering catatonia.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 7:57 AM
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174: I was at least attempting to direct the scorn towards myself, the sniveling Don Quixote constantly, vocally worried that he's failing in his quests.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 8:57 AM
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Late to the thread. Being a semi-impecunious Gentleman of Leisure is practically the definition of fighting the boredom. We have enough to get by but want to save for or daughter's future needs (ABD in the humanities god help us). We aren't energetic or creative enough to take advantage of our abundant free time. Lots of walking, reading, cooking, webbing and so on but still the stretches of time that need filled multiply. Reading is a great help - I spend loads of time on it but I've about used up our library. Drinking is good too but I really like craft beer and it isn't cheap.
God, listen to me - I have no problems at all.


Posted by: OutOfTheBlue | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 9:19 AM
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I fight boredom partially by reading thinkpieces. This one might be too contrarian, but it is thought provoking: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/03/democratic-operatives-dream-big-data-death-stars-%e2%80%a8the-case-cambridge-analytica-propaganda-tool.html


Posted by: roger the cabin boy | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 9:23 AM
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So, I think I already know the answer to this based on previous advice, but it's worth it to pay substantially more more for noticeably better orthodontia, right? I decided to get a second opinion on braces just to do some due diligence. The second orthodontist spent about 30 seconds looking in my mouth and then told me they did invisalign or metal braces. She spent 5 mins on the consultation total. Other orthodontist spent several minutes looking in my mouth, took extensive photos so she could get a better view of my teeth alignment and point out issues to me, checked my gums to make sure my teeth could handle the treatment, and spent about 30 minutes explaining treatment options and her reasoning behind her recommendations for me.

Invisalign was a similar cost at both, except the first orthodontist said she didn't recommend it based on the type of movement I needed for my teeth. (The second seemed to be pushing it, but it was hard to tell.) The costs aren't exactly apples to oranges, because it would be two different types of braces (ceramic with thermal wire vs. metal with rubber bands), but the ceramic are substantially more expensive.

I *can* afford the more expensive braces easily, I just have problems actually spending money when I know there's a cheaper option out there. Also, at the first place, invisalign was the cheaper option, and at the second metal braces were. I don't think my first orthodontist was lying, but I also don't have the knowledge to know if she was correct in not recommending invisalign.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 12:12 PM
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It's worth paying more to work with an orthodontist that you trust and who will be attentive to the needs of your jaw/teeth. It sounds like you're not sure if either of them fall into that category.

If it were my, I'd spend some time reading online about the situations in which invisalign is/isn't recommended and see if that makes you more or less inclined to agree with the first orthodontist that invisalign wouldn't be a good fit.

If you believe that the first orthodontist has a good reason for her recommendations I would definitely spend more money on her.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 12:21 PM
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I am struggling a lot right now. In about two weeks I'll be traveling abroad to see some friends, at least one of whom is probably dying. I just can't stop crying today, and I don't really know how much more of this I can take I can take without completely breaking down. Too many of my friends have died in the past year. This isn't supposed to happen in your 30s.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 12:31 PM
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195 I'm so very sorry J, Robot.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 12:36 PM
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Also, I'm not getting any research done and will probably not get tenure, but that part feels less important right now.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 12:52 PM
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Oh, J. Robot, that's awful.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 12:59 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear that. 30s is way too young to have to deal with your level of health problems and the death of so many same age peers.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 1:36 PM
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194

(So, the internet isn't totally conclusive, but it does seem like my problem is one of the harder things to fix with invisalign. It can be used in mild cases, but often takes longer and is less successful. So, looks like orthodontist 1's advice holds up.)


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 2:04 PM
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Boredom's looking pretty good. Sorry JR.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 2:04 PM
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My sympathies, JR.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 2:12 PM
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Thanks all. I am currently eating my feelings, which will have to stop at some point, but that point is not today.

Buttercup, you might want to see if your university has academic counseling. I spoke to the head of the psych department about my own dissertation struggles* and while I'm still a non-writing, procrastinating mess, I think it helped me finish.

*As I announced to my committee at the start of my defense, at some point in my seventh year of grad school I realized that I was talking to my therapist about my dissertation struggles more than my ongoing family crises. So I started seeing the academic psychologist, but that just meant I had two professionals I talked to about the dissertation.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 2:26 PM
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Thanks! I will look into academic counseling. I know they have study habit workshops at the counseling center.

Also, don't worry about stress/depression eating. Sometimes it's necessary for self care. Just do what makes you feel better.


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Why does spam always seem so funny in comments?


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 4:02 PM
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Really sorry, J., and hang in there.

Definitely agree eating is a very reasonable response ATM and your emotions are more important right now.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 4:06 PM
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Yes, J, feelings are delicious. The Jordan almonds I'm chomping as I write this are almost satisfying enough to be a little numbing. You are dealing with so much and yes, it's way too young. I've been stressed out and overwhelmed lately, but it's mostly stuff where I believe if I can hang on and muscle through then things will eventually get better because I'm laying the groundwork for that. You don't even have that. I' so sorry.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 7:08 PM
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JR, that sounds horrific. Maybe this has been covered somewhere, but were you all in the same place at the same time? Is this some concentrated cancer cluster?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 7:45 PM
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So sorry J Robot, so so sad and horrid.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 10:16 PM
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For my close friends, it's coincidence. At least two of us were highly likely to develop cancer thanks to genetics, and no one else that we know of outside of our group who lived/worked in the same location has had cancer. My graduate cohort has just been extremely unlucky.* My lay opinion is that the stress of grad school possibly sped up our cancer timetables, but I don't think our immediate environment caused it.**

Then there's the death of my colleague this summer (recurrence from when she had lived on another continent), then the recent deaths of friends from cancer camp (a higher rate than is apparently typical for a given group, but not out of line for the setting).

My fellow campers were both really incredible people--the kind you'd describe as being full of life. I was pretty close to G., who passed last month--had just sewed her a Kermit appliqué, and sent a care package with camp pictures, Muppets Take Manhattan magnets, some inspirational bullshit cards, and a unicorn bubble gun. She got those in time, at least. G. was from Brooklyn--I was going to take the train up and join her for a Muppet trivia night when she felt better. She's the kind of person who's the life of the party, but not in an annoying way, or to seek attention--just to have fun, and be goofy, and spread a sense of somewhat batty contentment and joy. E. passed a few months before G., not long after camp ended. He was a big, hilarious, Mexican-American guy from LA, a proud dad of two kids about the same age as Hawaii and Pokie, I think. He had a bunch of family living nearby, so at least they'll be there for his widow and kids. There's another one of us 12 campers who isn't doing very well. Trying to think good thoughts for her.

My colleague had only recently moved across the world here with her husband and kids. It sounds like the school is going to do the right thing in continuing the spouse's job, and supporting their green card apps. I've been showering the daughter with arts and crafts supplies and burned Hamilton CDs. She was also a bundle of energy and light, the kind of person who would want people to say "Rest in Power" over her, so can get back to confronting injustice and foolishness in the next life.

I'm just going to assume being grouchy and pissed off will keep me alive, since a sunny disposition didn't help any of them.

It helps to be able to moan about it all here. It's kind of overwhelming for Mr. Robot. We lost one of his closest friends to cancer when we still lived in the Midwest, and I think he's still getting over the fear of losing me (and, possibly soon, his uncle). My sister's MIL and surrogate mother are also dealing with stage 4 recurrences, and might not have much time themselves.

I should join a support group or something, but I don't want to go to a survivors group and talk about everyone who's dead or dying. Maybe I'll look for a grief group.

*Very unlucky. We started the PhD program with 13 in my cohort. One, very kind and thoughtful, person died in our second year for reasons related to mental illness. One woman left the fourth year for reasons related to lupus and also mental illness. One left because she's a terrible person, and she now works in Langley. Three of us have or have had cancer, as does the wife of one of the three).

**I've thought a lot about this, because my then-roommate is the only one of our grad school quintet who hasn't had cancer, so we all keep an eye on her. Thankfully, she lives across the pond and down the street ofrom the couple, so they all have each other, and I'll get to see them all in a few weeks.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 10:25 PM
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Making care packages does apparently help me feel better, so I'm sending your girls some comics tomorrow, Thorn.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 10:30 PM
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Well if being grouchy and pissed off helps keep you alive then just reflect on the very high likelihood that your terrible person former fellow grad student is bound to thrive at Langley these next 4 years*.

*If you need to up the dose just change that to 8.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03- 1-17 11:48 PM
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Nothing nearly on par, but I just wrapped up my cat who died unexpectedly during the night. She was about 10, and I'm glad she was with me.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 2-17 4:05 AM
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Oh, Minivet, I'm sorry! Pets can be such a consolation and their loss hurts. I'm glad you were able to be there for her.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03- 2-17 4:29 AM
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Unexpectedly? That means she thought she was chasing a mouse but wound up fighting a kangaroo.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 2-17 6:51 AM
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Confidential to people with two living parents or people in legally-binding couples with have children: When you write documents giving your kids power of attorney, you should contemplate what would happen if both of parties get dementia and not just how to care for one with dementia when the other dies. That is all.


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 03- 2-17 8:56 AM
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That is indeed a tough situation, Mr President. I know of a couple of instances IRL, and essentially in both cases they have a very hard legal row to plough.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 2-17 9:09 AM
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Anyway, it turns out that somebody with no short-term memory can legally say that their spouse doesn't go into a nursing home despite needing 24 hour a day care that they would be incapable of providing even if they had a short-term memory.


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 03- 2-17 9:12 AM
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Yes, same over here, which is why when you write PoA documents, you should involve a lawyer and that lawyer ought to point out the need to provide for this situation. If they fail to they aren't doing their job IMO. In Britain at least there is a way for a panel of medical professionals to get somebody into care against their will, but it's a long and costly business.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 2-17 9:28 AM
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The lawyer who wrote it is the parent who needs 24 hour care. It's not very costly here to get a guardianship, at least not compared to home nusring. About $2,000.


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 03- 2-17 9:31 AM
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Your cohort really does sound cursed. Did you guys purloin any mummy skulls in your first year? Maybe the Hope Diamond?

I would definitely recommend a grief group. Also a grief counselor, if you're not already seeing one. A hobby where you can get out rage is nice too, like kickboxing, or even just going to the gym and punching a punching bag.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 03- 2-17 9:35 AM
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212

Sorry about your cat!


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 03- 2-17 9:36 AM
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Sorry to hear that, Gerald Ford and Minivet. Losing a pet can be so hard, in ways we don't always expect.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 03- 2-17 11:38 AM
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Yesterday, I bullied one health care administrator*, cajoled another, was called cruel by my mother for six hours straight, and placed my father in a facility. Now, the magic of internet tracking is giving me ads for funeral homes. But, I'm one step ahead of that game as my old roommate works for that company.

*My sister was with me the whole time and has been here much more than me, but I was the one who bullied the health care administrator and I think that was key. She was trying to get the administrator to appreciate the irony of the situation in 217, but I know that anybody with a sense of irony cannot get that job. Also, it turns out that sometimes the patriarchy really does make things easier for men. Why isn't that a slogan?


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 03- 4-17 7:57 AM
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217/219/223: I'm so sorry. It's good advice. Not just PoA for medical but financial is really important. And yes, to 220, you can do this in court in the US, too, although degree of difficulty depends on how well your demented relative can pull it together. Pres. Ford, I hope your father left everything organized and gave you and your sister all the information you need to get things done. Are you going to place them together? It would almost certainly be cheaper to have them share a room if that's possible and money is a concern. My mother adjusted shockingly well to a memory care facility, even if she would have hated the idea when she was well. She was, for the first time in her life, bizarrely "popular." It seems to take 4-6 weeks of awful for most people, then settles into "fine." Hate to wish this, but I hope your PoA provided direction for awful late-stage issues like tube feeding (shudder). At least as far as it goes, I suspect direction for your mother is largely guided by what your father would want as well, so I'd just treat it as direction for both of them. I'm so sorry.

Minivet, sympathy.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03- 4-17 9:53 AM
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We're trying to get them in the same room. We just didn't think it would be good for my dad to start out with my mom yelling about how this is all her fault for not raising her kids better. She's calmer now and we expect she'll be asking to move in with dad before a few days are out.


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 03- 4-17 11:33 AM
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