I went to bed last night with bees in my ears. My tinnitus is acting up something fierce, which usually happens when I’m feeling stress, and I regard as a kind of built-in siren telling me things are getting bad and maybe I should slack off a little bit. It’s also a bad sign when you go to sleep half-hoping you don’t wake up again. But I did, and here I am, and there’s all the work I have to do. I would actually have preferred if all of that had died, rather than myself, but we both survived, me and my nemesis.
Anyway, what’s up is that I typically teach what is called a 3-2 load, where one semester is a little heavier than the other. I guess I should say 2-3 in my case, because this spring is my killer, with an extra course to be taught. Further complications: stupid goddamn pandemic. I’m teaching everything online, which involves rethinking everything as I go, basically throwing out 20 years of material or re-writing it. Second complication: we were hit with pandemic rules in the middle of spring term last year, making a hash of this course then, and I’ve been wrestling with how to do it right this time around. So I’m second guessing everything I guessed at last time, and hoping it works better. Third complication: last spring, we just threw up our hands and gave up on the lab, sent all the students home with some sample data, and had them work through the theory. This year, while absolutely nothing has changed vis-à-vis COVID-19 (we’re worse off, if anything), we’ve gone ahead and implemented the lab, with the difference being that each section has been split into three sections to allow social distancing for the students, while greatly expanding my lab load.
I’m feeling it. Boy am I feeling it. We’re only about a quarter of the way through the semester, but I think I aged a decade this past year, so I’m not quite the agile, youthful, enthusiastic teacher I was in 2019.
I think, though, I can get a break by turning play time into a scheduled obligation. That’s my plan for today, anyway. Work all morning on grading, then take an hour or so off at noon to play a video game, then back to the salt mines to finish grading and write a shiny new lecture for class tomorrow. Yeah, that’s all.
At noon today I’ll live-stream a little more No Man’s Sky. I’ve taken advantage of a little loophole in the game’s mechanics (actually, the fabric of the universe in the game is totally broken, and the conservation of mass and energy no longer applies) to make myself a multi-millionaire with no effort at all — it’s not cheating if violations of the laws of thermodynamics are explicitly written into the game rules — and have decided to lounge about in a busy spaceport, watch the pretty starships fly in, waiting for that perfect space truck or space yacht to land, and then muscle in and wave mega-millions under the pilot’s nose and buy it. Standing around doing next to nothing for an hour? I’ll host a little Q&A and talk nerdy while I’m doing it, and y’all can weigh in on which starships you like best. It’ll be relaxing. I need relaxing for a bit.
The plan is to buy a big space truck to hold all my stuff, and maybe a vicious sleek little fighter. Later, like the typical space billionaire I’ve become, I’ll turn to piracy. That’s what all rich people do, right?
Now — back to work. I can get a few dozen exams graded before noon, right?