Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times

It's been a weird two days, with another two weird ones to follow. The Congress of the Humanities is happening in St. Catherines, and has been since last Friday. For those not in the know, Congress is basically the Woodstock of Canadian Humanities academics; all the associations that aren't quite big enough to hold regular meetings of their own hold their annual conferences during the same week span, and this year, St. Catherines gets to be the lucky host. This year, I'm delivering a a 10 minute work-in-progress paper for the Canadian Game Studies Association, which runs from the 28th to the 29th. My presentation is 9 am Wednesday morning. The downside is that my ride to St Catherines is picking me up at 6:50 am to make the drive there in time; the upside is, with the presentation happening so early in the conference, I'll be able to relax for the rest of the two days. Last year, the only major conference I went to put my presentation at the very last panel of the day, and it was both nerve-wracking, as it was looming over me the entire conference, and depressing, as most people had gone home, and I think there was a grand total of four people in the audience. The stars willing, this presentation will be different. Further, I'm giving a 10 minute presentation, which is a very odd thing. Five minutes is enough time to read your abstract out loud and sit down; fifteen minutes is time for a rushed argument, but ten minutes is a bizarre limbo. Still, I'm third on a panel of five, so even if it's a horrible mess, I'll at least be able to fade into the woodwork.

All of which is to explain why my next two days will be weird. Yesterday was weird because it was so productive; I finished my lesson plan for today's course in record time, and finished the CGSA paper, also in record time. (Of course, the works cited and slideshow took hours, as they always do; videogame screenshots can be persnickety things.) And then I went for a nice run. And I mean a really nice run. Two weeks ago, against my better judgment, I downloaded a running app called RunKeeper for my phone. It monitors your distance, speed, and so forth. I set it to a weight-losing routine, and it's been giving me exercises every other day. I've always resisted following an exact program for exercise; it seems like it takes all the spontaneity and fun out of it. But... well, it's already paid off. Following the program, I've increased my speed slowly, and built up some endurance. Yesterday showed me how much; for the first time, the program made me do a half hour of speed intervals, and it went fine. Wound up with a 32-minute five k run. It's not a particularly good speed, and nowhere near what I was doing when I was in peak shape. But when you factor in that I was averaging a 37-minute five k when I started using Run Keeper, it's an impressive improvement. And I felt really good after finishing. Darn you for making me like you, Run Keeper!

Today, on the other hand, has suuuucked. First, I forgot to set my alarm, so instead of waking up at 8, I woke at noon. NOON. This does not bode well for a good night's sleep before my presentation tomorrow. Then I get to campus, and dig through my office for a game case I need to finish the slideshow side of the presentation. Of course, it's at the very bottom of a stack of game cases (I keep the cases in my office and the actual games at home; never mind why), which is behind two other stacks that need to be moved first. And while I'm under my desk--because the stacking is so tight it's easier to go under the desk than move it all--my pants tear a hole in the side. My new pants. It's a combination of the fact that I caught on something while I'm down there, the fact that, well, there's a reason I'm doing a weight loss running program, and the fact that, surprise, cheap pants ordered online from Sears are probably cheap for a reason. Now, normally, I'd just suck it up and go home late at night where people spotting my new ventilation system would be at a minimum, but I teach today, so that's not an option. So I hop on a bus back home, change into a spare pair of pants (the pants I was planning to wear to the conference tomorrow--but what are the odds something will happen to them between now and then, he said, daring the gods' wrath), and ride another bus back to school. Ick. Luckily, it's a night class, so I still have four hours to race through all the other things I wanted to do today. Just as long as, you know, nothing else goes bizarrely wrong.

Later Days.

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