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Monday, March 16, 2015

Well, poop.

Feels like a pretty wasted day, even though I've kinda done stuff. I started the day with another go-round on the article for my Portuguese friend: turns out I'd carefully edited an old version. My friend's collaborator gently let me know that I had, and she was willing to try to compare my notes across versions, but I actually was interested in seeing the revised version--and I didn't want to hold them up waiting for it, so I figured I'd get it done first thing. That's also part of the "getting my feet clear" impulse that often ends up getting me into trouble, but I do think my feet are clear of that, and, as with the last time, it was rather nice to nitz around with someone else's product instead of my own.

I did get one article annotated; I'm finding that it's much more difficult to do the ones for which I have only an electronic copy, as I have to keep going back and forth between files to find references or to quote accurately. And that particular article had stopped me dead in my tracks twice before: Interesting argument but dense and difficult to follow (which is what I said in my annotation).

I'm now on campus: I came here to interview a possible alternative cat sitter. She was late (got her schedule confused), so while I was waiting for her I started the augean task of cleaning off my desk (and along the way discovered that my file drawers are so packed I can't put some things away, so additional purging is required). Then Paul turned up: best part of my day, of course, talking with Paul.

And in a few minutes here, I'm going to tromp over to the library, return some books and make some copies of a rather fascinating debate among scholars about the ideas in one guy's book. Two scholars take on the whole book, and Le Guin herself takes on the part of the book that addresses The Left Hand of Darkness--and his rebuttal to her response is also included. I have to say, my annotation of his piece on Left Hand leaves no doubt but what I think the guy is full of shit and his argument full of holes--but that's kind of fun, actually: I can point out to students where he's trying to make a point without providing specific evidence to support it. "Dear Students: Use this as a model of what not to do." I provided the same overall caveat for another article that I worked on a few days ago; in that case, the authors were so busy following their thesis, they ignored evidence that clearly proved their thesis was invalid.

I know students are unlikely to get as much of a charge out of that as I do, but man it's fun to point to the holes in someone else's argument--and even more fun to watch scholars in the verbal equivalent of fisticuffs.

But that trip to the library will be the end of my work day, I'm sure. Rather than engaging in the repetitive cycle of "I didn't get enough done" whining, I prefer to consider this another good, productive fallow day and look forward to, well, another day. Tomorrow. That one.

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