Progress 12/27/20

Update by Richard Bleil

Things are moving for me. I’ve tried to make it a point to accomplish something, regardless of how small, every day, and I’m doing a fairly decent job of it. As I type this, I am sitting in my office, between an old Windows XP system to my right, and a Linux to the right, as I type on a Lenovo. Sure, go ahead and laugh, but the office desk I assembled myself yesterday (along with my bed frame), and the two ancient systems that I use for research I put together today, and they actually work.

Am I going to actually continue my research? I don’t know, but it’s important for my own state of mind to think so, and that these two systems are once again up and winning are a big part of that, and that’s enough to keep me going. Already I’m feeling more motivated to start looking into my newest adjunct teaching contract, and start preparing for the new semester which, frankly, should be fun albeit underpaid. Classes will be starting, I’m certain, in about a week so it’s definitely time to motivate to do something, and with one fully functional (and one partially) bathroom, and an adequately functional kitchen, along with clean running water, heat and electricity, I know I can do this.

That’s a pretty big admission for me.

Now, I still need some things. I need an office chair to be honest. I think I’ll look for one Monday, then my office should be in great shape. I must unclog my upstairs bathroom drain and test the shower (the downstairs shower is functional but very weak), but I suspect I will actually have to disassemble the trap so I’ve been putting it off. I’m also more than a little concerned that the problem might be more central since many of my drains are at least slow, but one thing at a time. I have a few pieces of furniture yet to be delivered (like my guest bed frame), and frankly, I need kitchen cookware (pots, pans, spatulas, etc.). But I’ve found my microwave and it functions, and my stove top functions although the oven does not. In time, I’m sure I’ll have to replace it but that can come later.

I still have boxes to move, and even more to unpack. I made an interesting discovery, truth be told, in that the boxes I saved seemed to be game heavy. I’ve lost dishes, cooking utensils, but I’ve kept games, Ren costumes and arts and crafts materials such as my sewing machine and supplies, art supplies and instruments (mostly instruments I’ve obtained from Ren fairs). I don’t have a table in what I’m planning on using my arts room, so I have no idea where I will put things, but it’s interesting to discover that I put such emphasis and importance on games and hobbies, although, frankly, I don’t think it’s terribly surprising. I’m far better at math, education, science and so forth, but I have always had a soft spot for art. I wish I was better at it, though.

So, I think the next priority must be the upstairs bathroom. If I can get the sink flowing, I think that will make my life much better. In the meantime, I’ll keep moving boxes and then I can begin unpacking. Right now, I’ve unpacked enough to be able to survive, but it’s hardly living. And there is plenty of cleaning that must be done, but unfortunately, that’s something I’m not particularly good at.

Among these tasks, I need to begin preparing for the new semester. I need to create syllabi and set up the course web sites, but in addition to that, I need to start making a list of things to memorize for my biochemistry course. I’ve never particularly liked memorization, but this is a course in biochemistry for biochemistry majors, and there are things that they will have to memorize to be legitimately ready for the “real” world, including amino and nucleic acids. Since I’m not a fan of memorization, I’m going to be trying something I first did some years ago, namely, I’m going to make a list of those things I will be anticipating asking the students to memorize and putting it on the website before the first day of class. This way, the students can make preparations, such as flash cards, to begin the memorization process earlier, so early, in fact, that they can begin memorizing these things before we even reach the section in class. It’ll still be unpopular, but hopefully this will help.


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