Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Falling further behind

I'm already a book and a half behind in school. Usually I have the books read or at least skimmed before class starts. Not so this time.

My sports editor "quit" last week. He's not leaving a very big hole. I found a guy who seems pretty excited to write sports, but he doesn't want to be an editor. That's fine. I'm used to not having one. It would be nice to have one, though.

Editing is fun. It's fun to take a bunch of blank pages and turn it into something. I like fussing over where to place a photo and finding spelling errors in bylines and giggling about what a stupid headline we wrote. I really like doing what I do. I'd like it a hell of a lot more if the people I worked with gave a rat's ass, though. How do I inspire my staff? They like being in the office, but when it comes to getting the work done, their innate shyness seems to kick in, and they won't talk to anyone to assign a story or write one. It's part of the communications field, for balls' sake. I'm hardly outgoing myself, but, geez, there's a job to do.

Tonight I have to do the business taxes. Pray for me. Tomorrow I have to take my mom to the doctor and find sources for my history paper. Pray more.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Catching up, falling behind

I'm sitting in my bed doing my homework. I have to write a diagnostic essay. Ick. It's due in two hours. I always sound like I'm talking out my ass when I write that kind of stuff.

It's gray outside. It snowed some dust in the night. The arbor vitae outside my window looks like it's shivering. The ice on the lake is cracking. It always sounds like a long, rumbling gunshot. When we first moved here, we didn't know what it was. It sounded like a police shoot-out and scared the crap out of us. I finally realized what it was, and then I thought it was pretty cool.

Kelsey is home sick today. She's not especially ill, but this time of year, when everyone else around us is either coughing or puking, if she says she's tired and has a headache and wants to sleep, she is welcome to do so. She said she wanted to sit by the fireplace and watch a movie in the dark. I think I'll join her soon.

We switched the paper to a new software. The designer, who did no work over winter break, showed up last Thursday and said she was going to switch it over. She was supposed to be working on it and be done with it by then. I didn't care if we switched or not, but I think she wanted to be able to put on her resume that she ported the paper to a new program. Fine. Except she didn't finish it on Thursday, some of what she did was wrong, and then she said she was going out of town for the weekend. So I had the joyous, long weekend to learn a new program and put the paper together while I edited the writing, chased down photographers, and put the art together. I'm not so good at design. But I'm getting better now. My only worry with the program is that it took about 20 seconds to FTP the largest file to the printer. Usually it's more like 20 minutes. So I'm wondering what quality we're going to get back. We'll see.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Blah, blah, blah

Not much happening on the personal front. Wait, here's something – Kelsey's Tamagotchi, Emily, died yesterday. It was its birthday. She was very upset. Crying, depressed. I felt so bad for her. I didn't realize a tiny piece of beeping plastic could mean so much. She reset the thing and named it Amy this time. She's sweet, huh?

I talked to a counselor at school yesterday. I wondered if I could transfer some of my UW classes to MATC and graduate. I had intended to do this when I first started at MATC in 2005, but I never bothered. If I had bothered, I would have graduated the semester I started. In the meantime, they've added an ethnic studies requirement that I've never fulfilled. I need it at UW-Madison, too, but I wanted to take it there. They have a lot more to offer than MATC for ethnic studies. I also can't get into J school until I've attended Madison for a semester, so I wanted to have something to do for a semester. I was hoping, too, that I could raise my GPA "in the major" by taking my ethnic studies class at UW-Madison. I got a BC in microeconomics back in 1991. I was pregnant and could hardly stay awake. I did the homework all of twice, I think. I got a B in statistics in 1990, which was a little disappointing. So, my suck-ass grades in those two classes give me a 2.75 GPA in the major, which is stomach-turning. If only grades transfered as well as credits....

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Admissions and Donkeys

Today I applied for admission to UW-Madison. It was a quick, online application. Since I'd already been a student there once, in the olden days, I got to skip a few questions, but only a few. I still had to answer questions about my parents.

Is your father living? No. What is his present address? Brandt Cemetery, plot number unknown, Stockbridge, Wisconsin.

I didn't actually answer the question of his address, but I was tempted.

I also loved the one about the last time my mother registered to vote. How in the name of...am I supposed to know that? As though it mattered. I did not call and ask her.

There was also the question of my ethnicity, for which I checked, "I prefer not to provide this information." When I applied at age 19, I checked "other" and wrote in "human."

I had to write a "concise statement" with important information for the admissions committee to consider. I wanted to write something clever, utterly unrelated to school that was just a little glimpse of me. But profanity is likely frowned upon in an admission packet, and I wanted to get the damn thing done, so I just wrote platitudes about moving into the next phase of my life and showing my growing girls the importance of dedication and higher education. I also mentioned my 4.0 GPA since returning to MATC and my job as editor of the school paper. Gotta suck up once in a while. My nose and lips are a shade of brown tanto de la moda.

Drop The Dead Donkey

Today I watched some of season five of Drop The Dead Donkey. I haven't watched much TV since school started in the fall, so it was nice to watch a few episodes. I'm still chuckling over George saying "motordyke" instead of "motorbike" to Helen's girlfriend.

DTDD is a show about a television newsroom in England. They wrote a rough script, and as things happened in real life, they wrote a last-minute script, incorporating very current events into the show, so as it aired, it was remarkably up-to-date. It was done in the 1990s, so the "news" doesn't have any immediacy to it anymore. Much of it, of course, was very Anglocentric, and I don't know who a lot of the people are they're talking about. I'm up to 1996. Clinton is about to get re-elected. I think anyone who's worked in any kind of newsroom would appreciate the show.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007



My mom comes home tomorrow. She got out of the hospital last Thursday and has been staying with my sister in LaCrosse. She's pretty scared to be alone at home. She asked me to check on her every day. I will.


I'm listening to Kayleigh watch a movie she made with a friend of hers some time ago. Kayleigh sounds so much like me when she speaks. Her voice, her inflections. Well, OK, she has inflections that I only think I have, but to me it sounds like me.

School & paper

The spring semester starts for me tomorrow. Not classes, but the newspaper. I am wondering how many people will be writing for this back-to-class issue. I lost my news editor to a full-time reporting job. I'm really happy for her to have found a job. She was getting discouraged. She has a Ph.D in music, but no degree in journalism, which wasn't serving her well. My arts & culture editor quit school for personal reasons, so I need another one of those, too. My sports editor wants the A&C job, but I don't think that's going to work.

Painting a bedroom, eventually

I started emptying Kelsey's room. I was supposed to paint it last summer when I did the ceiling, which looks pretty cool. It's blue with lovely, puffy clouds. I tried to shape a few of them ever so slightly, so you can lie there and imagine what they look like other than puffy clouds. It was overwhelming trying to get all the crap out of that room. So I didn't. I hardly got any of it done. But I did lie down for a while and look at the clouds.