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Another month of musing

We’ve reached the end of another month. At the end of the month, I try to take a step back and look at what I mused about, what I learned about writing, and some other expected and unexpected circumstances surrounding my practice of daily musing. So, let’s see what happened this month.

The list of topics continued to expand. When I last checked about a month ago, I had about 340 outstanding topics to write about [1]. Today, I seem to have about 350. I also find that instead of just putting new musings on the top of the stack, I’m putting whole sets of musings on the top of the stack, breaking things up into not-quite sensible groups. Let’s see …

  • There are three (3) topics left in immediately after SIGCSE.
  • There are seven (7) topics left in next set [2]. Most of those got added during SIGCSE. Two or three are part of the workaholic series that I started a few weeks ago [3].
  • There are six (6) topics marked as almost immediate. Most come from the start of the semester. But, as I said, I’m not only adding topics to the top of the stack, I’m adding sections to the top of the stack. It appears I added both next set and immediately after SIGCSE.
  • There are nine (9) topics marked as New soon, normal length or possibly long (teaching). The category comes from a time that I decided to organize some of the recent topics into long/short and teaching/non-teaching. The categorization is not exact, but it’s a start. The group includes some recent additions, as well as the long-promised Teaching CS is (like) teaching writing.
  • There are thirteen (13) topics marked as New soon, normal length or possibly long (other). As I scan those, I realize that not all of them will be as long as I thought. But some will.
  • There are seven (7) topics marked as New soon, potentially short, teaching topics. This group and the next are where I go first when I feel like I don’t have enough time to muse.
  • There are twenty-four (24) topics marked as New soon, potentially short. This group includes one I added this evening and two I added yesterday.
  • There are seven (7) topics marked as Old soon. If I recall, those were the original set of new musings. Then I added a new soon section. Then I divided it into four parts. Then other things got added in front.
  • Then there’s the really long series of thirty-two (32) topics named New forthcoming musings [4]. It looks like these got added primarily in the summer of 2017. Certainly, some of the topics come from that summer.
  • I have three (3) entries in A series on fun books. Now I have to find those books again.
  • The next group of three (3) or four is entitled All those outstanding anniversary musings (if it’s not too late). It’s probably too late. I’ll need to wait until the next anniversary, whenever that is.
  • After that, I have a group of two (2) that seem to be the start of a series on being a hoarder (although they are titled A series on addiction and organization).
  • And, to follow the pattern, there’s another group of eleven (11) entitled Old forthcoming musings. I can tell from that group that I was actually trying to make a list for myself of the next few musings; it looks like they even had numbers at one point. Those all come from spring 2017.

After 125 or so musings that I had intended to write soon, we arrive at the original grouping of potential musings.

  • There are twenty-five (25) entitled Quick: For the days in which I need to dash off an essay in order to meet my goals. It appears that I’ve come back to the plan.
  • There are one hundred and twenty-nine (129) labeled General. The last of them is "NaNoWriMo (On writing) (Wait another year?). I think I added that in October of 2016. I missed it that year. I missed it in 2017. I wonder if I’ll write something about NaNoWriMo in 2018 [5,6].
  • The long-delayed series of Grinnellians you should know (or know about) has sixty-six (66) entries. I should probably add some more.
  • There are another nine (9) of other people to write about. I’m not sure whether or not those would be public, though.
  • And I have a list of twelve (12) or so things I’ve marked Topics to revisit.

If we put all of that together, there are about 365 [7] topics to write about. It looks like the list is growing at a rate of slightly less than one topic per day. I now have enough topics for a full year of musing, even if I don’t come up with any more. That’s good to know. Running through the list makes me wonder whether I should be looking at ways to re-organize them so that the ones near the bottom of the stack [8] get visited at some point. That’s clearly a task for another day. Maybe I’ll set up a database and tag them. But I like skimming the list. We shall see.

What else happened this month? It appears that more infelicities are creeping into my writing. Fortunately, I have a few readers who enjoy pointing out the sentences (or parts thereof) that make no damn sense. I also realized that I missed fifty-five days of musing in the past year. I’ve stayed exactly 310 musings ahead of the year-past musing, which suggests that early spring was not the time I was missing musings. I’m still trying to make sure that I get the full 365 this year.

I started two new series of musings, one on workaholism and one on logging my life [9]. Perhaps this month I’ll finally start the series on fun books or return to the series on music I listen to [10].

I haven’t ranted as much this month. I don’t think the reason is that I’ve given up my curmudgeonly ways. Rather, I’ve decided that some of the rants have to be less public and perhaps not in written form. I know that the rants draw some readers to the musings, but I don’t think that’s a good reason to rant in public. Don’t worry, though, there are some policies that make me angry enough that I’ll rant in public.

I’ve discovered new readers [11]. For example, I heard from someone who said A long time ago [12] we (briefly) met when you came to Bordeaux to visit [the long-suffering person who had to deal with being your office mate for five years]. At SIGCSE, I discovered that Some professional colleagues [14] read my musings. I’m still not completely sure why. But the read me enough that they knew about my Curmudgeon name tag [15].

I’m fighting less with Grammarly. Given that some infelicities are creeping through, that’s probably a bad thing. But Grammarly seems to observe fewer of what it calls errors in my writing than it has in the past. I don’t expect Grammarly to be a great editor, but it does catch some of my more glaring errors.

All in all, it seems to have been an average month of musing. I think I’m learning more about myself through the series on workaholism and logging my life. Spending much of this musing going through my list of planned musings was helpful to me, even though it may not have been helpful to you. I do find myself surprised at how often I’ve said, It’s time to add a new section for the things I want to muse about in the next week or so.
And I do think I should try to organize forthcoming topics.

What will happen in the coming month? More workaholism. More logging my time. A few rants. And, if you’re lucky, something that you’ll find useful or amusing.

See you in a month.

[1] I didn’t state that directly. I said that I’d added about forty more topics. In a slightly earlier musing, I said that I had nearly 300. So I’m estimating 340.

[2] I didn’t say that I chose good names for the sections.

[3] Good news! I’ve decided to go with Michelle on a cruise rather than to the AP reading. Maybe I can overcome my workaholic tendencies. Or maybe she just needs to ask immediately after a hellish week of work.

[4] Are you sensing a pattern here?

[5] I also wonder if NaNoWriMo still exists.

[6] It’s not in my notes, but I think there was even a point in which I thought I’d write a NaNoWriMo novel as a series of letters from a faculty member, thereby. merging the musings and other writing

[7] No, that was not intentional. When I first counted, I thought I had 350.

[8] Toward the end of the list, if stack isn’t your model.

[9] Do you see a connection? I don’t.

[10] The latter seems more like a summer topic.

[11] Admittedly, I know who very few of my readers are.

[12] I believe a long time ago is 1992. At some time, I should muse about my brilliant idea of going to France for a conference on Michelle and my fifth anniversary when it was not possible for her to go.

[14] By professional colleagues, I mean colleagues outside of Grinnell who share my profession. I do not mean people who make a profession of being a colleague.

[15] Or perhaps you only need to read me once or twice to know that I have a Curmudgeon name tag.

Version 1.0 of 2018-02-28.