1. I decided to take a break from Twitter, so I deactivated my account. I believe I’ve got a month to reactivate it, but I don’t mind starting over if need be. I love Twitter, but it’s too much of a time suck right now. How do I know this for sure? Well, I signed up for Rescue Time, a free program that tracks what you are doing on the web. Suffice to say I did not like the results over the past few weeks. The thing about Twitter is that it always feels like a really short break. But adding up those many short breaks a day is a terrifying thing.
I’ve been trying out some other productivity tools. Freedom is a good (free) program, for Mac users, that turns off the web for a set amount of time. It’s great when I need to write a draft of an ethics consult or a syllabus (For PC users, Self-control does the same thing).
When I’m writing a paper or presentation, though, I need the internet. So, I downloaded Anti-Social, another Mac program, by the same people who brought us Freedom. Anti-Social, which costs $15, blocks a predetermined set of known time wasters (the usual suspects, including Twitter and Facebook), and then any other sites you enter in, for a set amount of time. The nice thing about Anti-Social (as opposed to browser specific programs like Leechblock, which only works when you are in Firefox) is that you can’t get around it by opening another browser.
I do have Leechblock, and one nice thing about it is that you can set it to give you a certain amount of time on a specific site. You see the timer counting down in the right hand corner of the browser bar. After that, you can’t get into the site until the next day. Or… you just open Safari. (You can see why I needed Anti-Social)
This article from The 99 percent lists a few other productivity tools.
Anyway, I did not expect my break from Twitter to alarm so many people (who then emailed me). I’m sorry I didn’t tweet about it first!
2. Classes ended Friday, and now it’s just two final exams and the usual end of semester chores. This academic year has been marked with greater than usual involvement in theses. I directed an honors thesis of a biology student in bioethics. It was the first time a bio student was allowed to write an ethics thesis at my uni, and everyone was pleased with the results. He’s heading to medical school, and I feel so proud of him for having made ethics a central part of his undergraduate education. I believe it will make him a better physician.
I also sat on a master’s committee in rhetoric. That student wrote on the history of sex reassignment surgery from its inception in the 1930s to about the 1970s. She focused on the way medical discourses helped to create the “transgender person.” Fascinating stuff.
Third, I’m directing a PhD in feminist bioethics. She’s working on the intersection of law, politics, and medical discourses in abortion “counseling.” This student was named our college’s outstanding T.A this year and I’m so proud of her.
And finally, a master’s student in English showed up on my office doorstep asking to do an independent study on feminist perspectives on urban fantasy. It’s like manna from heaven! We’re going to set up a reading list and try to get a lot of it done this summer. I hope to blog about it.
Whenever I complain about my current job, I have to remember that if I were at a larger university with loads of faculty specializing in these areas, I would never get to be involved in so many wonderful projects.
3. Reading, etc.
I’m reading a bunch of books at one time:
Savage Thunder, Johanna Lindsey, romance ($3.99 on Kindle)
The Sheik, E. M. Hull, romance (free for Kindle, also available free all over the web)
These Days Are ours, Michelle Hamioff, general fiction (sent to me by the author)
Virginia Lovers, Michael Parker, general fiction (sent to me by the publisher)
I’ve also been watching Mad Men. I am about six episodes into season 1, and am enjoying it quite a bit. Great for long cycles at the gym.
Finally, we saw Pirates! yesterday and LOVED it. So funny. I’m still chuckling over one pirate named “The Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate” (he’s a woman) and another called ”The Pirate who Likes Kittens and Sunsets.” The film is based on a series of books by Gideon Defoe.
Have a great week!