September 22, 2008 - 8:23 a.m.
Good, bad, uglies.
My summer RAs did an incredibly touching thing. They got together and bought me a kidrobot hoody. These are very pricey, very urban ultramodern things that are like art. They are limited runs and each is labeled. I received number 232 of 500. I was really surprised and shocked. What a wonderful gesture. It came with a card thanking me for their summer experience. Talk about making the decision to take this job and go this route worth it. Bonding with the students here and working closely with them has been such a great job perk. They arenít all sunshine and roses though.

Iím teaching this seminar and the students have to do a research project with me. Last year I designed a study for everyone to work on and let them help pick our behavioral measures as their part in the collaboration. I did this for a few reasons. My research can be time consuming so I started the study before the class started. I wanted to make sure they worked on something relevant to me. But, I felt like my class was different from everyone elseís version of the class in the department. In other cases students generate, make formal proposals, and execute their own ideas. So this year I decided to try that. I had a small class this time, just 5 and they would be divided into 2 research groups. I did give some guidelines, telling them to lookat my website, frame questions in the context of the labís work, and gave them lists of things we are equipped to do in the lab and that we could reasonably execute in one semester.

Well, it worked awesomely with one group. They listened to what I said, they used all the info I gave them, and they are going to do a cool study with soy supplements and spatial memory, in females. I love it. The other group is dead in the water. Their questions do not seem to stem from any knowledge of the field they are interested in. Their approach is kind of random, they are all over the place, and they donít seem to be agreeing at all. I should say that we picked groups randomly. I thought of letting them self pick but it felt to unknown to let a group of 5 divide up like that and there was a few scenarios that seemed likely that I was concerned about. In retrospect I probably should have as chance did not serve me well. Iíve met with this group 3 times and talked to them over email and in class. Iíve handed them experiments a half dozen times now and they donít bite. Iíll say, well based on what you guys seem interested in you could do this or you could do this. Iím basically hoping they would PICK ONE. Iím one email away from telling them what to do. This study is going to be such a waste of my budget, and frankly my time. Iím really concerned but I feel trapped.

Okay then, I get an email from one member of the group last night asking to see me today to discuss something personal. Ack. Where is this going? Her and her partner did not look happy, let me tell you. I guess thereís a high probability that this is what itís about, group conflict. Now how do I resolve that?? Sigh.

Meanwhile, I went to the doctor on Monday thinking there was a decent chance I could get out of this splint but alas Iím looking at about another 2 weeks. Thatís pretty annoying but at least it doesnít hurt as much as it did. And it seems that I can still mostly touch type with my entire right hand and two fingers on my left hand. Who knew? Itís fairly speedy, so thatís good. I tried hunt and peck and it was excruciating. The prob though is that I have to hold my left hand at a funny angle to do it and it gets sore and tired pretty fast.

We are going out this weekend. Oh hells yeah! I even arranged for a babysitter. We were invited to join this dinner group. Itís kind of quirky but potentially interesting. They meet once per month but you donít necessarily have to go every time. Someone agrees to host and they decide on a dinner theme and a menu and tell all who are coming what to bring. Theyíll provide recipes too if necessary. Then the hosts neednít make any food but they provide the drinks. This monthís theme is the 1950s and weíve been appointed with the task of bringing a vegetable casserole. Could they have combined two things I suck more at? No. We were trying to decide if we should go healthy, interesting, innovative. Or really stick to the theme. I managed to actually find some recipes from the 1950s but I donít know, they they seem a bit on the icky doo side. I think Iíll probably go for it thoughÖ itís a broccoli and mushroom casserole made with canned soup and sprinkled on top with cheeze its!! Doesnít that scream 1950s? Should I wear a skirt too? Hmmm.

The WeatherPixie

Marriage is love.

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