I just finished and submitted my last paper of the semester. I’ve never had such a hard time finishing one. I got an extension from December 16 to January 2, and by then I was only about halfway through. I spent three weeks doing everything I could to avoid writing it, because I had lost interest. I did about 200 edits on Wikipedia in the “I’ll get back to writing just as soon as I check …” mindset. About a week ago I decided I would rather lose a toe (one of the smallest three, on either foot) than write it. I would lay in bed trying to get to sleep when I wasn’t tired, because I knew if I wasn’t in bed I needed to be writing. The whole time I was in Oklahoma and Texas, I had this awful weight hanging over me. And finally, it’s over.
I’m ready for a new semester. The department will be hosting more job talks soon (though they haven’t announced any names). In December we had Bruno Strasser and Laurn Kassell. Each presented work in progress, and I think many of us were disappointed with both, although the candidates themselves were more impressive than their talks. Strasser’s weak talk was particularly disappointing to me, because he does work that is extremely relevant to my interests (the intersection of evolutionary biology and molecular biology/biochemistry); he would be a possible thesis advisor (though Dan would still be the most likely choice).
For classes this semester, I’ll probably be taking:
Medieval Hebrew Scientific Philosophy – Gad Freudenthal
Science, Arms and the State – Peter Westwick
American Century: 1941-1961 – Jean-Christophe Agnew
French or German (I’ve taken one class in each, but I’m not yet proficient enough to pass the tests)
I’m also going to try to sit in on or audit these:
Advanced Topics in Macroevolution – This class consists of working through Gould‘s Structure of Evolutionary Theory.
Comparative Genetics – This is a bioinformatics class on the methods of using genetics databases.
In the meantime I’m going to get back to work on Wikipedia; Kepler needs me.