Posts Tagged ‘online teaching’

On Self-Pity

March 28, 2008

Okay, so the mild flu I mentioned in my last post was actually just the early stages of an unpleasant week of ravenous appetite inducing illness.  Now, I might more accurately say I’m recovering.  The fever seems to be gone – although I thought that a couple days ago, and it returned – and I can breathe easier.  I hope so.  I want to put this week behind me.

To make matters worse, the Canucks added to my suffering by playing some of their worst hockey just when they should be playing their best.  Two days in a row they sat and watched the other team play hockey in the final two periods.  How are they going to make the playoffs like that, let alone win their division?  It occurred to me after the second game that they appeared to be playing the way I felt.  Could they have been sick, too?  Had the flu infected them and worn them out?  It sure seemed like it.

Apparently, I looked so bad that one of my on-line students took pity on me and suggested that we cancel the lesson so I could get some rest.  Pity is not something that sits well with me.  It’s even worse when the source of the pity is myself, but that’s what illness does to you.  You want it to end.  You want to return to your normal, healthy, focused self, able to deal and cope.  So, you start to feel sorry for yourself.  “Poor me” syndrome creeps in.  “Why me?” thinking seeps in.  Before you know it, you catch yourself whining.  If it was someone else, you’d be annoyed by them.

I hate self-pity.  I don’t know how to deal with it.  Me?  Helpless?  I, who have endured so much?  I, who have overcome?  I, who takes a perverse kind of pride in the fact that he’s been fired from more jobs than many people have had?  How can I be this foul smelling, mouth breathing, wheezing, aching, limp mass of snot?

You might deduce from the previous paragraph that, even in good health, all is not perfect.  True, but at least you can try.  That’s what we do.  We get up and continue the struggle.  Self-pity takes that away from you.  It takes the fight out of you.  It makes you give up.

What do you do then?

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A Certain Ennui

March 24, 2008

I haven’t written much lately.  In fact, aside from yesterday’s brief observation of global conquest, it’s been a week.  I’ve been feeling a kind of malaise, a lack of motivation to write posts even though I’ve commented on a few other people’s.  I just haven’t felt like writing.

I couldn’t even be bothered to finish any of the partially written posts I have saved just for such occasions.  Yes, I’m familiar with the concepts of forward planning, putting some away for a rainy day, and having a ‘Plan B’ in your pocket.  Imagine you’ve been putting money in the bank just in case you ever need it one day.  Then, when that day comes, you can’t be bothered to go to the bank to get it.  That’s how I’ve been feeling about blogging this past week.

There could be other explanations.  As my blogroll grows, I find myself reading other people’s work more, leaving less time to write.  I’ve also been trying to teach more online.  Since the students are in Korea, the classes are late at night and in the early morning hours.  That means I’ve been sleeping well into the day.  When I can fill the whole night, and I’m told it will get busy in April, it’ll pay off.  Right now, I’m just tired.  Then there’s the fact that my mind drifts to what I’d like to do.  Torn between what I want to do and what I have to do, I don’t put enough time or energy into either.

But, I’ve also been procrastinating.  I sometimes wonder if the time of year has something to do with it.  As far as I can remember, March has always been a slow month for me.  Even in my senior executive level negotiation days with an international publisher, I don’t think I ever closed a deal in March.  Budget and fiscal issues may have played into it because April was usually good, but I still feel below par in March.

I started to feel this way about the middle of the month.  Now, I even have a mild cold or flu to recover from.  Beware the ides of March, indeed.  Maybe its the darkness before the dawn – the final days of winter just before spring, the time of renewal or return to life.  Most cultures celebrate this time of year for that purpose.  Easter was actually hijacked from an earlier pagan celebration, Eastre, as many religious holidays are.  Of course, some will say that is not true – Easter is a unique celebration of the rejuvenation of a corpse and its ascent to heaven.  If this be true, I be Caesar.

As I look around my one bedroom East Van apartment it’s apparent that, not only am I not Caesar, it’s also in need of a spring cleanout and renewal.  Whatever.  I’m just waiting for April to roll around.

Explosion

February 14, 2008

Early yesterday morning an arsonist made a mess of torching a taco restaurant and blew up several businesses, badly burning himself in the process.  Half a dozen stores were damaged on West Broadway, just past Cambie.  Two were destroyed.  An office above them was also damaged.  Across the street, the windows of the London Drugs that supplied just about every thing I use in my apartment were blown in.  Most of the block is now boarded up.

I heard about it on the early evening news, just before I headed out to a seminar at Biz Books, a book store for the entertainment industry.  I’d spent the morning teaching online then reading and responding to all the comments on this blog and the de-conversion blog I posted on.

The number of readers I get has soared this week.  I wasn’t quite ready for it.  I almost doubled my previous best day.  Then I almost tripled it.  Then I did triple it, and today was quadruple.  I’m a hit!  This week’s total is already more than last month,  my first month, and I thought I wasn’t doing too badly before.

There’s a downside to the new attention, however.  It takes up a lot of time and energy, and many of the commenters on the de-conversion site are rather logically challenged Christian zealots who ramble all over the place and change the subject in desperate attempts to prove the bible is THE TRUTH, and the only truth.  I wasted my time responding to people who seemed so naive I wondered if they were children.  Maybe they are, or maybe they’re seminary students practising on me.  Hey!  I get paid for that and these guys are using me for free!  They should pay me to read and reply to their poorly formed arguments.

What I really wanted, and needed, was to sleep.  I’d taught late the previous night, too, and did some other stuff afterwards I probably shouldn’t have.  The end result is that when the alarm blasted in my ear at 5:30, I’d had two and a half hours sleep.  I’d still had two and a half hours sleep when I was listening to the soft spoken producer in the cozy environs of the book store, resting my eyes occasionally.

They said on the news that the explosion was so powerful it could be felt two kilometres away.  I live about two kilometres away.  But, I didn’t feel or hear a thing.  I was deep in the midst of the only two and a half hours sleep I would get.