I have to apologize to regular readers for the lull in the action. Currently I am on jury duty. I haven't been selected for a jury yet, but it does make getting any work done nearly impossible, waiting to be called. I started out with my laptop, getting it out and getting connected, only for them to start calling out names for a new panel. I would then hastily put my computer away because once called you have to go get in a lineup and be ready to march up to the courtroom. I got called for a panel on my first day (last Monday), then got released because I start teaching one week before the expected end of a criminal trial (involuntary homicide no less!) and there is no one else to teach the course on energy and society that I am offering next quarter. By the way, the class is not full yet, so if you happen to be in the neighborhood (Tacoma, WA) and have nothing better to do with your time, you could register as a non-matriculated student!!!
So since that release, it has been just sitting and waiting, always anticipating the next panel call. On top of that, this week is finals week. I gave take home exams for both classes, both are senior level and involve more synthesis style questions than lower level courses might. But now those exams are flooding into my e-mail and I have to start grading. I had transferred them all to my thumbdrive and planned to work off-line on grading them while waiting in the jury pool. Then, this morning, lo and behold, my laptop back lighting gives up the ghost. Now I can't work while waiting to be called. I'm doing this on my lunch hour. Fortunately the courthouse is in easy light rail distance so I can get to my office and back in time.
So, what else can go wrong? That is probably a dangerous question to ask. I'd rather not contemplate the answer. Don't get me wrong. I am happy to do jury duty. It is one of the last bastions of citizen (non-political) support for a democratic society that seems to work. It is just all these other bits that are complicating things that are so irritating!
I have one more week to serve. That would have been my spring break. Originally I had planned to use that time to go hunting for land that might meet the specifications I wrote about in my series on Feasible Living Conditions (here and here) for a post-bottleneck society. I had intended to check out some real estate in an undisclosed location, but now that will have to wait for summer.
Ah, the complications of life. On top of that stuff, some nasty developments have happened at my university. In a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way (oh wait, it is beginning to look like that last part isn't such a good way of life), our administration appears to be pulling another fast one on the faculty. After this latest bout of "disagreement" is over (will it ever be truly over?) I will probably have a good deal more to write about university administration in general and this one in particular. I will just say one thing that has occurred to me lately: Have you ever noticed that the bosses who talk most about leadership are the least likely to provide it?
OK. Back to the travails of daily life. I hope to be back in form next week after grades are in and assuming I don't get sequestered in a murder case! Knock on wood George!