Tag Archives: Busyness

Squaring Things Away

So tell me this: Is “Squaring things away” really a saying, or did I make it up?

According to my friendly neighborhood (Internet) dictionary, square has a lot of definitions! (12 adjective definitions alone.) And I liked this particular Internet dictionary entry because it even contained a section for verbal phrases! So, square away is actually a nautical concept, originating from the work of squaring the yards of a sailing vessel.

USS Yorktown
USS Yorktown, Patriot's Point – Charleston, SC

Wait, not that kind of ship!

Pride (schooner) – Charleston, SC
The Pride – Charleston, SC

That’s better! (The yards of a schooner or other sailboat like this are the masts and spars from which the sails hang, in case you did not know.)

Anyway, the other definition of square that really caught my attention was transitive verb form #6: “To bring into balance; settle.”

Now, doesn’t that just sound delightful?

I’ve been doing a lot of “squaring away” lately. I finished my Master’s of Science in Geography this spring, and I even went to graduation.

Me graduating!
Me graduating!

Karen and I moved into a cute little house, and we even save on the rent. Unfortunately, this also means I’ve had lots of smaller projects to square away added to my never-ending to do list. In the last two weeks, I made a guest bedroom (sort of) out of a junk room, cleaned for my parents to visit, and worked on Karen’s garden seemingly non-stop. Yesterday we had the beds tilled by a friend, and we have them completely covered in (free!) fertilizer.

Then there’s the little detail of planning a PhD program and dissertation. I’ve only gotten 7 of my required 9 hours of course work for the fall squared away at this point, but I’m thinking a Directed Readings course may fill the last two.

I am also making (very slow) progress on a dissertation idea, but I’m spending way more time trying to figure out what fieldwork will entail when I get to Oslo – only two more weeks until I’m gone for a month! The dissertation idea, at this point, is to somehow compare the skilled migration experiences and place-making processes of IT workers in Oslo with those in Berlin. Given all that Berlin has been up to lately regarding the Blue Card, at least this work is timely if nothing else.

So I’ve squared away a few yards, only to have the sails open on me elsewhere.

Sail. Sail thy best. Ship of Democracy.

Go ahead, live a little

I’m starting to think of my blog as a side project that I don’t have time for. Thanks to the advent of Twitter, my thoughts can be put out faster, in shorter snippets, to a larger audience. Three or four years ago my thoughts would have been put out into a LiveJournal blog but that was kind of boring.

Ok, really boring. I was not a great blogger in high school…but what has changed, eh? Ha!

Then, of course, came Facebook status updates (did I join in 2005 or 2006?), but until about 2007 or so, Facebook didn’t do a great job of parsing those out for other users to read. Users had to go to each others’ pages to see what was up (gasp, I know!) Thanks, Facebook, for feeding our inner stalkers by adding the News Feed and Live Feed. They make it so easy to find out what’s going on with friends (not that it’s always useful). Plenty of people had problems with the ease-of-stalking Facebook has enabled, but I for one have it to thank for helping my mindless drivel find its way into the “cloud.” Also, kudos to Facebook and Twitter both for working seamlessly together.

Thinking of side projects that I don’t have/make time for anymore, aside from neglecting the blog:  photography and reading.

As far as photography goes, I’m in that rut where I keep taking photos (several hundred in fact) but I lack the time, and often interest, to go through marathon processing and uploading (and then naming, describing, tagging, etc.) sessions to get the final product on Flickr. I’m doing well if I get up 2-3 photos a month here lately, so needless to say, I’m falling behind. I’ve already mentally checked off some photo shoots that I’m not likely to ever touch again from 2009, but there is still about half a year of photos piling up in Adobe Lightroom.

And then on the reading front, suffice it to say that I’ve had four geography texts checked out from the UTM library and I’ve renewed them four times already. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider that one of the renewals included the Christmas break so it was about a month long… You see where this is going. Fortunately, I think faculty/staff can renew books indefinitely, instead of the three time max limit for students. Mostly, I read Twitter and the news. I even get the news from Twitter (CNN, BBC).

I hate to end this in a circle, but going back to blog subject, I’ve been thinking of switching over to WordPress. Problem is, I don’t know if I want to have them host it and just migrate my matt-cook.com domain over, or pay for cheap hosting and run their content management system (CMS) from the host. Then there’s the whole issue of having to migrate the content from this blog over, which shouldn’t be a big nightmare, but is still a few extra steps.

I didn’t make any resolutions for 2010, so I’m not going to promise that I’ll blog more or post photos more, etc. …

But I’ll try, on occasion. You know, before I get to grad school and have no life for 5-7 years.