Dec 14, 2009

not single spies but in battalions

as the semester winds to a close, everything speeds up and slows down at the same time. this year, the end of fall is a little more fraught than usual: everything got bumped up three weeks so that we'd be done with exams and grading and papers before christmas. much better than spending the end of the old year and the start of the new one with many swords of damocles overhead. other benefit: this is the only fall semester i've ever spent here without the prospect of toiling to classes through snowdrifts. we'll still have the snow, but we'll be toiling through it on our way to things that are not class.

meanwhile, everyone has suddenly realized that there are two weeks left to the term and meetings postponed unpostpone themselves, distant papers come due, examinations on long-forgotten content loom, late work approaches its final deadline. and yet, classes are done so the days again stretch into the hazy distance, to be filled with grilled cheese sandwiches and other forms of toasted bread. should be productive, but instead am drinking calvados and canvassing the corners of the internet for parts for an even more improved version of a vacuum distillation device than this.*

* apparently the cooking issues team have a plan for an improved rotovap that dumps at least the rotating bit with the failure-prone, expensive gasket. the real question is: how many moving parts and tubes can you take away and still have it work in principle? the answer, i suspect, is quite a few.

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