Life as an Extreme Sport


I’ve discovered the oddest thing – if I read something complex aloud, I’ll have a much better chance of understanding it. I think it has to do with levels of engagement; I have to put more of myself into something if I’m reading it as well as listening to myself, and it activates different areas of the brain. It makes sense, since I’ve always learned well via lecture.

The end result of that discovery is that I was able to engage with the intimidating paper on a level that I’m happy with; I found structural issues to comment on, and did so in a manner that doesn’t have me looking like a simpleton. But man, after looking through all the papers I’ve graded this week, lemme just reinforce what a good thing it is I don’t use red ink. (Back when I was first starting this whole teaching venture, a good friend’s mother gave me one piece of advice that she felt was invaluable: knowing how chatty I am in commentary, do not under any circumstances grade in red ink. The papers would be handed back looking like they’re dripping blood, and that’s just not friendly. So now, people get grapes back…)

Beyond getting all my papers graded, I refreshed on the reading (although not as well as I would have liked; Taylor is complicated, and few people seemed to understand him – presenting myself in a light of having fully understood feels like cheating), and got “omgrough” draft of my grant application finished. I’m already thinking about how to change it, so it will be a long day of editing in gap times. I’m still not certain I can actually finish it in time for the deadline, but I’m going to try – if nothing else for the practice. There’s another round of funding in January if I really blow it this time, so it’s not a dreadful level of pressure (although getting funded now would certainly be better than then). I mostly just want to perform well so that I can get a “good” out of Phillip – the things I’ll push myself to do (like only getting 3 hours of sleep) for a little ego stroking.

At least I know what motivates me.