austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

What's going on under the ground, hmmm

Since I've been under siege by students all week I figured the only course to get actual work done editing the textbook was to come in today and work through. This turned out to work, and I had a nice productive day to my mild irritation. Productive days annoy me, since usually all I do is cut out the time I blatantly waste on things like reading (not even posting to!) Usenet or the like, which is hardly that much of a sacrifice. They're just these nagging reminders that if I actually did the things I insist are important to do, then I would pretty reliably get them done. Somehow, this becomes insulting.

I remembered one chapter needed heavy rewriting. While reading the problematic chapter, though, I discovered ... it was rewritten. Most of the changes I'd been planning to make the past two weeks, apparently, I had done and forgotten about. I don't know whether to be relieved or worried that I seem to be editing in my sleep, particularly since the drafts exist on the office computer (with daily backups on my Unix account). I'm a great one for revising -- I love my own prose but never think it's just right yet -- but this is getting a bit ridiculous.

It still had spots needing revision, mostly to make the exposition less cryptic. There were parts that a month ago, still had me bewildered; this time it was a lot easier to see the big picture, and I could revise with that in mind. This leads me to a great moments in cat vacuuming. The chapter contains some phrases like ``mixed state pairwise interaction per site entropy'' which get pretty hard to parse. So I started to add dashes in terms like ``per-site'', making the modifiers and nouns more apparent. This requires a search through the rest of the book for other uses of the phrase so the punctuation is consistent. This could go on all year if I let it.

Heading home about 8:30 pm, I sat and waited for the campus bus. 20 minutes later, I remembered the campus bus doesn't run after 7 pm on Saturdays.

Trivia: Thomas Edison's private secretary, Albert Tate, had a form letter explaining Edison had not invented a 365-day shirt (a new outer layer for each day of the year, but a common inner layer) to send those asking about it. Source: Living Dolls, Gaby Wood.

Currently Reading: Castlereagh, C J Bartlett.


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