Sunday, December 09, 2007

Blips of Strangeness in My Weekend

Much less has gotten done on the author review than I would have hoped for. Someone forgot to attach a MS Word template to many of the files, so I can't work on them lest the changes not be correctly indicated with track changes and confusion descend upon the project. No one can get that to me until Monday, so I will have about half as much time to complete this task as originally alloted. Secret message to students: Please note that with this "real world" task the people who assigned me the task screwed up and, yet, the deadline has not been moved. I just have less time to get the work done.

And since I know nothing about MS Word, I am helpless here. With the exception of this project, literally the only time that I use MS Word is when someone emails me a Word file and I double-click on it to read it. The last time I used MS Word was about twelve years ago.

Also, my coauthor screwed up at some point and some of the files that got submitted were not what we intended to be the final versions. I've put him in charge of fixing the parts of this where it really matters; for the rest of it, we'll just suck it up and deal with the fact that parts of the text will be suboptimal. When you write a book in 12 weeks, it's unlikely to be super-perfect. Especially if you've never written a book-length manuscript before. (My dissertation? Forty pages. Including all the front and back matter. It wasn't bound; it was stapled.)

It's not like I've been getting scads of other stuff done while waiting for this mystical MS Word template. I've made a few folds in the facings of the shirt that I'm sewing and fused some interfacing. Cut out the pocket so that the print lines up with the print on the front of the shirt. Haven't sewed anything together.

So this is how The Topologist found me on Sunday afternoon. I was moping, getting nothing done, sitting at the computer in my robe, and playing about 15 games of Scrabulous. I was surrounded by dirty dishes and hadn't eaten because there were no clean dishes. There might not have been any food, either; I hadn't bothered to check.

He promised lunch and took me to the home of one of the Buddhists. This was not just any lunch. This was Buddhist lunch. There were two Buddhist nuns and a lama there. A lot of people had strange dietary restrictions, like the woman who only eats raw fruit. There was also the acupuncturist* who claims to be a nurse but who has never held a license in this state (my state has all medical licenses -- even expired ones -- viewable on the web). He also goes by an Indian-sounding name even though he's Jewish (genetically -- he's a practicing Buddhist). After lunch there was some ceremony about crushing white bread to feed a hungry ghost followed by chanting in Tibetan. Then the lama told us about some woman in Tibet who married a local god a few years ago. She disappeared for several months with this god and when she came back told the people that the gods are unhappy because so many people in Tibet smoke.

Somehow I need to figure how to get out more without finding myself in strange situations.

*There is something about acupuncturists. Another prominent local acupuncturist lives on my block and is always making a stir -- not in a good way.