Trying to mentally organize

A lot of little – well, not little – research responsibilities are starting to pile up at work. I have two new sets of reader reports to deal with on two manuscripts (one book, one article, in both cases, I think, ‘cautiously optimistic’ for publication is fair), in addition to the spring article I was/am working on, and another R&R that is still out in the ether.

Finding the time and focus to work on these new reports has been elusive. Writing is never the problem – the one thing I can depend on from myself is skill at improvisation, learning new things, and generating new ideas – scheduling, though, not so much! I am so disorganized that I have mislaid entire hobbies. I am still not quite sure what happened to fencing, for example, or aikido. One minute they were there, indispensable parts of my self-identity, and then I didn’t have time for them. The same thing happens with theory; I used to be really interested in metaphor, for example; now the topic is blase and I find myself moving elsewhere, as if life was a particularly colorful and crowded supermarket aisle and the frozen food in the next freezer had more attractive packaging. Then again, humans have trouble focusing, and I am human.

The only things that work are deadlines, and aggressive ones, at that. I wouldn’t have an new article draft for this spring, for example, if I hadn’t put a firm date to it of late March and backed that up with allowing others to read it, no matter how horrible it was.

The book manuscript is the biggest and most important project (current project #1) and it will take me at least until late June to properly edit it. Most of that time will be just plain old reading, filling holes in the lit review, trying new language out, and finding new ways to present ideas. The article revision (current project #2) can be done by late May; it requires far less new reading – more textual analysis, really. The spring article (current project #3), I think, could go out at the end of this month, April. There is actually a #4 project that is collaborative and bouncing along nicely to accompany these, and a #5 for July, so I’m not really sure why I’m worrying so much about productivity, come to think of it… if anything I am far TOO productive, scholarship-wise.

Maybe I should game more. I like the sound of that. Tropico 3 has been helpful for stress lately.

Woods

Tiger didn’t win the Masters, but he did do something that no other golfer there, including Mickelson, over four days, managed to do – shoot 70 (-2) or less in all four rounds. It is always amazing to me that his off days are better than nearly everyone else’s best days.

The scandal didn’t affect me much because I still have trouble viewing him as anything but a sort of golf-bot that is probably unplugged and recharged after each tournament.

Stevens

John Paul Stevens, our best SC justice,  is on the verge of retiring. He’s actually been on the verge for awhile, but being long-lived will do that. So the question becomes not whether Obama will replace him with a left-leaning judge, but how left that judge will be. Given the sterling behavior of the GOP lately, the Senate will likely complain about any candidate short of Nancy Reagan, so I don’t see why he shouldn’t roll the dice on a real firebrand. I don’t know how many Marxist, environmentalist, anti-death penalty, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage judges are out there, but I highly encourage them to apply. We’ve got to keep cracking down on family values!

Sarcasm aside, it will be interesting, in this post-healthcare-fight political atmosphere, to see how the Senate rhetoric shapes up once Stevens decides to leave. The GOP can’t point to Obama as a do-nothing President anymore; he has accomplished more in two years than what Clinton, their arch-foe, failed to do in eight.