Monday, March 17, 2008

a crisis of delivery

So, I'm in the zone, I'm ready, I'm back in the "whenever I'm not in the classroom, I should be working" vibe. I feel good, I know what I'm doing, I'm confident. I am riding the writing/research wave, and I am hanging ten. All the other beachgoing-academics are swooning.

Of course, that's always the first sign, isn't it?

There are currently a large number of balls in the air, but the one I'm most concerned with is my Captain America article. I have every right to be has the soonest and most absolute deadline.

So I read and reread the source materials enough to where I actually know my topic and took a little bit of time, since I haven't actually done any work with the fine Captain in four years, but I have it nailed, and it will be a good'un...notable, with the benefit of expanding my cv.

Of course, my argument fits in to my general scholarly theme of studying how identity works in a postmodern existence. Also, however, this paper is sending me to yet another field of theory--masculinity studies--where I don't have a whole lot of experience or knowledge backlog, but that's how things are working lately, so I expect that.

There's one of the industry-wide classics of theory in this field (Connell's Masculinities) which is listed so much as source material in my research, I feel I have to read would be like ignoring Marx in a Marxist analysis if I miss it. But, thanks to the internet, you can order anything and have it on your doorstep in days...right?

I've got the book ordered, and I have a long weekend to start the drafting process...almost a full week, thanks to student online draft days. I'm in great shape. Then I realize that, even though it's been a few days, the book hasn't come yet. I check the fine print on Amazon, and it says "ships in three to six weeks."


There's still time to recover, so last Wednesday, I order from and select expedited shipping. This means I should get the book this Friday or Saturday. That still leaves all weekend, Monday, and Tuesday to draft. No problem...right?

On Saturday, I get an e-mail from the seller...she can't ship the book until Monday...which means I wouldn't get it until Wednesday at the earliest.


I cancel the order with her out of general spite, and, after online checking, find out that no one in 100 miles seems to have this very important book in stock. Barnes and Noble online, however, claims they can get it to me in a few days, but I'm still looking at Wednesday before I can start reading it...and only after that can I outline or draft.

Keep in mind my deadline is March 31, and you can see why I'm panicking. I thought I'd have a nice long binge draft session and then relatively relaxed revision. Instead, I lost a four day block of work time and will instead have to cram this together in a few days. This is made all the worse by Easter and the inevitable family visits the holiday entails...which I love, but they make my deadline a migrane.

It's just my life, I expect.

The weirdest thing about this snafu is that it gave me a weird weekend. I couldn't do any more work on this paper because I was missing a source. I didn't want to distract myself by working on something else, because my mind can no longer multitask several arguments...I lost that ability when I finished by coursework. And there's nothing built up on the TiVo to occupy my brain. This is why I spent part of Saturday night bored out of my skull and reading A Cricket in Times Square.

This is also why I can tell you the aforementioned Cricket book kicks Judy Blume's ass.

Ah, the joys of being a full time academic...drowning as a wave of unavoidable delays and setbacks crushes you against an outcropping of rocks.

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