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Another month of (almost) daily musings

Topics/tags: End-of-month musings, rambly

It’s the end of the month. I suppose that is supposed to make me happy, but it’s mostly making me think about the end of my time as an Obermann Fellow. Nonetheless, I have an obligation to myself [1] to use the last musing of the month [2] to write a bit about the experience of musing. Over time, these musings have become a bit less about what I learned about writing and more about whatever comes to mind about the broader process of attempting a daily musing.

Here goes.

This month represented two milestones. I reached my 800th musing. I realize that multiples of 100 shouldn’t be particularly significant. Nonetheless, they often feel that way to me. Well, the lead up seems significant. The special day often passes as another musing, and then I’m back to the sense that the current number doesn’t matter all that much. The other milestone was that I spent a few hours one day cleaning out my sketchbook. That activity led to two separate musings.

Because FunDHum [3] is supposed to be my primary writing task for this month, I tried to set fewer goals. I said that I’d rant a bit. I planned to write about a few Grinnellians. I told myself that I’d read Style. I told myself I’d read Ralph’s book, a book about the Ossian tales, and Friday Black. How did I do with those goals?

I ranted four or five times. More precisely, I posted rants about four or five times. That’s about normal for me. I didn’t post rants about some things that upset me, including some ITS irritation, a biased SGA policy, and the Dean’s office’s refusal to take responsibility for both a stupid policy and an associated decision that stemmed from the policy. I’m hoping that ITS will provide a reasonable path for us through the obstacles they’re putting in our way. I hear that the SGA policy is being addressed. I’m not sure what will happen with the Dean’s office fiasco. Fortunately, I’m not chair and don’t have to deal with it [4,5].

I managed to meet none of my reading goals. I wonder when I’ll find the time to read again. Maybe in June. But I’m not setting any reading goals for the near future.

I did not write about any Grinnellians this month. Next month, I may write about the two that seem to have bubbled to the top of my list: Henry Haven Windsor and Glenn Leggett [6].

On the other hand, I wrote a few musings about issues related to FunDHum and teaching functional programming. Since those topics are supposed to be my focus this month, I’m glad that I was able to muse about them. Writing about the FunDHum writing will be a goal for December, too.

Since December is my last month at the Obermann center, I’ll probably write the three or so musings I’ve long planned about the center. I also expect to write something about the final Obermann seminar. The Center is also planning an article about me and a short video piece. If I see them, I’ll probably muse about them. I’m somewhat nervous to see how I’m portrayed.

What else happened this past month? Oh, that’s right! There was a fun coinkydink [7] at the start of the month. The same day I mused about NaNoWriMo, Middle Son also mused about NaNoWriMo. No, he did not copy me. And I did not copy him. Both of us just seemed inspired by the start of the month. And we reached opposite conclusions about how to approach the topic [8].

I see from my notes that there was a time that I managed to misnumber the musings. I’m not sure when it was, but I fixed it later. That happens every few months. Does anyone but me notice? Probably not.

I also included images in more musings than normal this month. I tend to be a text-only person, but there are times that images work, too [9]. I included a Pogo strip, a picture of my odometer, way too many advertisements from pioneers.grinnell.edu, the pages of a famous comic-book story, and a line from the online schedule of courses. I’m not sure whether or not the musings for the coming month will inspire images. We’ll see.

That’s about it for content.

What about writing style or writing process? My multiple years of writing musings do not seem to have made me more comfortable writing the sections of FunDHum. Rather, it seems to have done the opposite. I seem to think more carefully about each thing I write, which means that it takes more time, rather than less. On the other hand, I hear from the reviewers of my SIGCSE papers that my writing is clear. I feel like it’s always been clear. But Michelle tells me that when she compares things written a year ago with things written a month ago [10], the newer material is better. So maybe there is an impact.

What’s left? Oh, that’s right. I’m a junkie for pointless numeric data. The last musing of last month was musing number 796. This musing will be number 825, making it the twenty-ninth musing I wrote this month. My average is slightly below a musing per day. And average is the correct term. There were a few days this month in which I posted no musings and a few days in which I posted two.

Where do I stand on the number of musings since a year ago? If I recall correctly, November and December were particularly hard months to muse in 2017. It appears that the last musing I wrote in November 2018 was musing number 493, on achieving sympathy If this is musing 825. That means I’ve written 332 musings in the past year. Still not a musing a day, but close.

What about the sketchbook of forthcoming musings? When I started a new sketchbook, it had 141 in the main section and 69 in the list of Grinnellians to write about. I don’t think that counts Grinnellians in the main section. As of today, I have 135 in the main section and 69 in the list of Grinnellians to write about. I think that’s progress in the right direction. There are enough forthcoming topics to be sure that I can find something to write about each day. But there aren’t so many that topics will necessarily get lost. We’ll see.

And there you have it, yet another rambly end-of-month musing. I’ve enjoyed taking a short break from my other work to reflect on my hobby. But now it’s time to get back to the real work.

See you in a month [11].


[1] And, perhaps, to you.

[2] Or, once in a while, the first musing of the next month.

[3] Middle tells me that he pronounces this as Fundie-hum. I still think of it as Fund Hume.

[4] Sorry Jerod.

[5] I’m not sure that I’ll ever have the temperament to be chair again.

[6] Or perhaps an article by Glenn Leggett.

[7] coincidence.

[8] I wonder how his writing is going.

[9] Because I’m text person and because I believe in accessibility, I also write a moderately long caption for each musing.

[10] One SIGCSE submission included some sections of a rejected paper and some brand new sections.

[11] Or a day [12].

[12] Do I make that joke every month? I’m too lazy to check.


Version 1.0 released 2018-11-30.

Version 1.1 of 2018-12-01.