Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Small Breakthrough

On Monday, I came into my office to get a little work done. Rocket had the day off for Labor Day, and we had spent Sunday with the boys and D back in Paradise, where we rented a sailboat, and took in the city's charms. It had been over 100F for about a week, nearly 110F on Saturday, enough for us to escape. Air conditioning in that context doesn't work well. We've only got a small window unit in one room in the house. Because of wiring problems, the circuit will trip if we dare to run the microwave or coffee maker (or just about anything else) while the A/C is running.

My office A/C wasn't much better, but I think it kept the space below 90F. In any case, I finally got my latest program to work (well, sort of -- for every set of data points, in most cases about 300-400, it drops the last one, but at least it's a very close approximation). So, I can get down to the nitty gritty of proofs-of-concept.

I'm still teaching of course, and there've been some annoying snafus on campus, as I mentioned on Friday. Many students still don't have their books. But in comparison to what the Little Rock 9 suffered, these insults are quite tame. So, I'm keeping a good spirit about it all, and counseling my students likewise.

The commute is somewhat as I expected, and since I had realistic expectations, it hasn't truly annoyed me yet (other than the guilt of contributing to congestion and pollution more than I'd like). This still leaves me with 2.5-3 days per week to keep up my research, working on my patents, building my business.

More and more academic job postings trickle into my inbox. I've yet to get enthused about the job season. I haven't applied for any jobs yet this season. I think I will, but I'm not pinning my hopes on that anymore. I'm more interested in prospects that correspond to a place we might like to live (which, yes, is still an open question). If I see a posting that screams my name, well sure I'll jump at it. But I'm not holding my breath.

My research at the moment has little to do with my ostensive subfield, the area in which my degree seems to best qualify me to teach in. So what do I do? Should I apply for academic jobs without mentioning what's really driving me these days, the research on which I am pinning my hopes? Or do I note this in my cover letter, realizing that most committees will scratch their heads wondering why, say, a cook would be applying for a job in gardening. The connection is clear to me. But then, do I really want an academic job anymore?

I'm teaching two classes now adjunct (about 80 students total). My best guess is that's about 2/3 time compared with the time I'd put in to being a full-time tenure-track faculty member. Meaning, of course, that if I took a faculty gig, I'd likely still have 1.5-2 days/week to work on my research and business, plus the summers. Likely more in fact, if one accounts for my current 6-9 hours of commuting per week. Ideally I'd live much closer to campus. Who knows?
And ... tomorrow, the Painter starts kindergarten. Life... is quite full, and really exciting. Grant that we have the strength and courage to make it through the next few months, to find our path, to locate our new home.

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