Ten Ways to Procrastinate When You Should Be Writing Your Dissertation

1. Cook elaborate meals.  For every meal.

2. Related: Bake.  Modify the recipes to make things extra difficult on yourself.

3. Clean. Everything. Ever.

4. Establish elaborate self grooming routines.  Moisturize your cuticles.  Put on face masks.  Deep condition your hair.  Floss very thoroughly.  Shape your toenails.

5. Take your dog on very long walks.  You’re being healthy.  What’s wrong with that?  Right… right..? 

6. Got to bed late.  Wake up late.  Feel groggy all day and say, “I’m going to bed on time tonight and setting an alarm for tomorrow.  I really need to establish a structured routine.”  Repeat daily.

7. Look for jobs knowing that your only hope of landing said job is actually being awarded your Masters (but for that to happen, you need to write your dissertation).

8. Open lots of tabs that may actually be helpful to your research.  Get frustrated when your computer begins running slowly.  Give up and browse social media on your phone instead.

9. Suddenly become very diligent about responding to emails.

10.  Write humorous blog entries. 

Alternative Libraries–yay or nay?

Are you a reader, a teacher, a librarian?  Do people send you links to impressive home shelving, beautiful libraries, literacy projects? They do for me and I often love what I’ve seen, especially when it’s something with a comments platform full of positivity about libraries and reading and happy memories of influential teachers, books, and librarians.

But, I also feel a sense of conflict.  Yes, those shelves are exceedingly cool.  Yes, those books do look awesome grouped by color.  Yes, the intentions behind building a little library are fantastic. Yet, I often find myself having one thought over and over again: Libraries are more than collections of books.

Libraries are more than just collections of books.

Libraries are more than collections of books!

So when a friend sent me a page about an alternative to the public library system that had sprung up where this person lives, I felt curious, then deflated as I read more.  Curious in a positive way too–I love to see others loving books.  It’s very cool that a group of folks have gotten together and begun putting together the things they want to see in libraries.  That’s a time and financial commitment and speaks to the dedication people still have around sharing the written word in the face of all these (misguided) headlines about the death of reading and publishing and intelligence.  The halcyon days of fiction blah lazy millennials blah blah. The deflation came from wondering if they weren’t playing into the hands of those that want to close public libraries all together.  Why should taxes pay for leisure reading, right? If people are willing to invest their own money and time, let them and send those tax dollars elsewhere. (eek.)

Public libraries especially can offer so many services.  They can help you learn to use a computer or software program.  If you already know how to use one, they can provide stable access to the Internet and word processors and email accounts for those without.  They can facilitate speakers and experts to help you in your job search and write your resume and go back to school. They provide students and other researchers and family genealogists with a key to otherwise prohibitively expensive databases and resources. Inter-library loans, e-books and audiobooks, meeting and lounge spaces, photocopiers, printers, scanners, newspapers, magazines, films, comics….

Ultimately, I’ve learned through my lectures and reading that too many people want to take those services away in the name of conservative and big business politics.  The ‘intrinsic value’ of these services can be difficult to measure, so librarians can be forced to think in terms of ‘customers’ through the door and circulation numbers to prove their worthiness to those who hold the funding money.  That’s the basic root of why I hold back to offer total, sweeping support to public library alternatives.  If people don’t go to the library, those in support of closing them can say, “See, no one uses them,” and cut funding, push for privatization, or close the community libraries altogether.  So in that way, saying the library doesn’t provide us with what we want so we got it ourselves, could potentially contribute to further deterioration of budgets.

Speaking in general terms as well, I wonder if a movement like this could devalue librarians themselves.  Obviously librarians participate in all kinds of radical and offbeat library projects.  Again, so many are fantastic and valuable to those that use them, which is part of my personal conflict.  Still, many people don’t understand what librarians do.  If I had a £ for every time someone said, “Why do you need a Master’s degree?  Aren’t you just putting books back on shelves?”…  So, I worry that all of these virtuous projects aren’t somehow perpetuating that image of all you need is a person to alphabetize a collection of books and ta-da, you’ve got a staffed library.

This is a complex issue.  People should organize, they should support one another in meeting their community needs, they should read and research and have access to the information they desire.  There is historical precedence to lend support to this.  Plus, it’s potentially elitist to say, “You’re not doing it correctly and you don’t understand,” and even trickier still to say, “Let the government take care of it for you instead.”  Still, I’m left with these nagging thoughts on the impact of these projects and I don’t know where to come down.

What are your thoughts?

Where in the world…

Hmm. So I guess I never did find my groove again, but here I am back to reviving the blog.

Shortly after I wrote that initial entry about our return to Korea, our school shut down.  It was a corporate decision based on the cost of rent and we were able to find new jobs and an apartment within a few weeks, but it was an uncertain and overwhelmingly stressful time.  It brought up a lot of negative feelings for David and I about the fragility of us living outside of our home countries, the lack of control we had over our own lives, and led us to seek out a new and more permanent situation.

Later that summer we became engaged, in the fall I was accepted to graduate school in Glasgow, and that spring David was accepted to a post-graduate program for primary education.  All of the pieces were falling into place and we happily prepared for our move to Scotland with our beagle, Ellie.

Now here I find myself writing this blog entry in one of my departmental computer labs, which has an impressive view towards George Square.  I’m in the second semester of my Library and Information Studies program and looking towards finding a job, a new visa status, a new home, and marriage.  I had always intended for this blog to be general and I think now its direction will shift yet again, so I’ve changed my tagline.  Good bye to teaching.. everywhere and hello to libraries, doggies, and veggies.

But, don’t worry, the adventures will continue.

Right back where we left off

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

That’s where we’re going to leave things with why I left Indonesia, at least for the time being.

Since I left updated I’ve been in 5 different countries: Scotland, America, Japan, Singapore, and Korea where I’m writing from now.  David and decided to move back to Ilsan and are working at our old school after they had 2 teachers dramatically leave.  We’ve been back since January, but it took awhile to find my groove again and the free time to blog.

I’ll do my best to catch up on where I was and why, but I realized if I didn’t jump back in, I’d never start writing again.

For the time being, let’s talk about the now.  The spring weather is gorgeous and I’m spending as much time outside as possible.  Tomorrow is Wednesday leading into a four day weekend for Buddha’s Birthday!!

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Han River near Yeouido–that’s the 63 building in the background

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I consider myself a person who can handle A LOT of spice. However, I’m usually expecting it.

The other day I accidentally put a whole chile in my mouth (I was eating a noodle + veg dish called kwetiau so it hid wrapped in a thick vermicelli noodle) and I can still feel the spot in my mouth right where I bit down.

Ouch!

The red squiggle is a bit of sambal, a chile sauce eaten with everything on Java. It varies from a very smooth red paste all the way to a green with big chunks of chile pepper in it. Think of it as a home style Sriracha (you may call it rooster sauce) but with more pronounced sweet and sour components.