Monday, May 10, 2010

How to Take a Vacation, Grad Student Style

I will not be posted after this week until the first week of June because I am approaching a rare event in grad student life: a vacation!

And not just any vacation, but a vacation where there will be NO CONTACT with the outside world, no concept of deadlines, no Blackberries, no nothing. I will be on a safari truck moving westward from East Africa, and there's no laptops in Ishasha. Just the way I like it.

I figure that a vacation really ought to be a vacation, as opposed to checking your email in an exotic locale. Because once that email comes in, you know, the one with the "do this now" and "get this to me ASAP" and "what are you doing? write that paper!", the "vacation" becomes a "scribble furiously by the pool" exercise in non-rest-and-relaxation.

Here are some suggestions for vacations you can take where people won't expect you to be in constant contact:

1) Safaris

2) Scuba diving trip -- did this one in the spring of my senior year of college, and it worked great! I was underwater! Perfect for avoiding virtually all communication!

3) Spelunking

4) Ye Olde Cabin-in-the-Woods

5) Reenactment vacation/historical location a la PBS Pioneer House

6) Any country where people have an impression of lack of communication regardless of the actual technological situation

7) Rainforesty places

8) Giant mountains or, even better, volcanoes

9) Most non-Caribbean islands, except Japan and Australia

10) Mime Camp

Good luck with the end of the semester! I'll be back with excellent photos before you can even miss Meta-Wednesday.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Haiku Challenge Results!

Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry for Haiku Challenge 2010! I had a lot of fun and chuckles reading through them. With no further delay...

The Winner receiving the "Sonic Special" graduate student survival kit is Courtney:

My nose senses fear:
The dreaded paper monster
is on the rampage.

And the Honorable Mention, from Elizabeth:

Thirty six papers
Number of footnotes: zero
A day in the life.

Yes, paper-themed haikus won the day here at Chicken Soup for my Grad Student Soul, and speaking of which, I hope this little exercise gave you relief from some, whether you're writing, grading, or both.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Haiku Challenge -- Penultimate Day Warning

This is your last chance
Submit your wondrous haiku
To win the booty

Tomorrow, May 7, is the last day to submit the haiku! I must receive them by midnight, eastern time. The winner will be announced on Sunday night and their haiku posted in all its glory.

Remember, the topic is anything having to do with graduate school. Books, students, exams, stipends, sleeplessness -- all fair game. There's a lot of material, so put down those books and write a few. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

5 Minute Procrastination

By now, I've learned to differentiate between what I like to call "long-term" procrastination and "short-term" procrastination. We all know that it is the long-term procrastination that is really dangerous -- the TV marathons, the movie theater screening all the Harry Potter films in a row, the decision to clean your entire apartment before starting work are all things that can potentially leave you thoroughly, entirely screwed over.

The short-term procrastination, however, is a different animal altogether. It is the lap cat to long-term procrastination's rogue man-eating tiger.

Everyone has their daily procrastination routine. I'm not going to publicly out those people who check Entertainment Weekly every day. Instead I'll out myself: I read police blotters religiously.

These things are hysterical. As evidence, I compiled a list of events which made the police blotter during one week in a town near where I live:

7:26 a.m. Investigated a report about someone who said they were going to kill a senator and discovered it was a mentally ill person from out of state.

9:37 a.m. Responded to Blue Heron Drive for a family feud.

10:59 a.m. Report taken about the theft of a $500 fuel tank caught on video.

11:13 a.m. An employer reported being assaulted by an employee who said, “I’m sick of you dissing me.” The employee apologized and said he wouldn’t return to the business.

11:33 a.m. Responded to Islington Street for a complaint about the theft of a 30-pack of beer.

12:43 p.m. — A theft was reported on the Route 1 Bypass northbound when an elderly person forgot to pay for gas.

3:12 p.m. A Woodbury Ave. store clerk told police someone came into a store with their own ticket gun and was re-pricing items.

4:22 p.m. Responded to Summer Street for a report of a sickly raccoon drinking from puddles and staggering.

4:35 p.m. Responded to an automotive business where employees were threatened after someone’s car failed an inspection.

4:52 p.m. While responding to a 911 hang-up call, a cruiser got stuck in the snow.

5:06 p.m. — Unable to locate what a resident reported was a "very large and possibly rabid raccoon" walking around the Lawrence Street neighborhood.

6:30 p.m. A Holiday Drive resident reported items stolen from his home which he left unlocked while away for three weeks.

6:41 p.m. Were unable to locate two teen girls who were reportedly running in and out of traffic “like they had a death wish.”

8:49 p.m. A caller reported an intoxicated man with a possible broken leg in some woods.

10:34 p.m. Investigated a report about someone who seemed to be breaking into a mailbox.

10:35 p.m. Shearwater Dive resident reported a skunk trying to get into her house.

The best part about the police blotters is that you don't even have to read your own town's for a honking good time. And they never take more than 5 minutes to read unless you go digging through the archives. Reading these always starts my day off right.

Police blotter: Breakfast of Champions.