Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

What I did with my winter break.

Classes start tomorrow: Excited! I always love the spring "Science, Technology, and Society" course, and even the "Foundations of Technical Writing" course is satisfying (doing two sections). Also doing a couple of Advanced Technical Writing and Editing sections, but they're very small this semester, and they'll be helping on projects I need to write anyway. Plus one or two independent study SF students. So, overall, WAY fewer classes and students than last semester.

So what did I do with my winter break? First and foremost, recovered from a semester wherein I taught 10 courses (three large, three medium, and an assortment of courses with 1-3 students in them). What was I thinking? Well, I figured that, because most of them contained only a student or three, it would be no big deal. WRONG. If you are a teacher, DON'T EVER DO THIS. A class is a class, regardless of how many people enroll, and often those 1-3 person classes consumed more an hour every week. Now add three sections of technical writing (16 writing projects times 70 students) and the others, and WHOA. Oh, and I do try to have a writing career and life in there, too. I'm learning better how to say, "No." That's a toughie for me.

So after recovering a bit (this included watching the box-sets of Harry Potter, among other things), I did a lot of neglected house, garage, and yard-work; tinkered with the vehicles; hung out a bunch with people; and did finally build up enough reserves to get some writing done. This included tons of outlining, scene-writing, and other work on The True-Life Space Adventures of Jack and Stella; lots of thinking and outlining on my keynote talk for the University of Central Oklahoma's Liberal Arts Symposium on science fiction and the liberal arts; and even resumed work on my memoir, Stories from a Perilous Youth. I didn't finish any writing projects, but them's the breaks when working on book-length things.

Yesterday I got my 1978 BMW R100S up and running again! Took some create effort to reassemble the frame (I had to disassemble it to remove a dead battery), do some rust and wiring repairs, and get the fuel system operational again, but it was still in the 50s yesterday afternoon when I went for a ride. ON MY MOTORCYCLE. IN JANUARY. I'm just sayin'. Awesomeness. Even got a photo when I visited some friends who had never seen the bike running before. That's satisfying. Next up: painting and installing the vintage Hannigan fairing I picked up a couple of years ago. I've decided to go with red to match the tank and seat frame rather than the color-fade orange of the front fender (and side-panel lettering, thus likely the original color). I have other (evil) plans in mind, too, that involve giving this bike a bit of Mad Max character... bwahahahaha!

A few days ago I had to carve the lock out of my back door. Long story. Let's just say that a variety of power tools, pry bars, and other implements were involved. This could have been an awful experience, but thanks to [profile] chernobylred, it actually turned out to be an adventure. One I needn't repeat, mind you, but an adventure nonetheless. I can't tell you how much fun it is to Sawzall a much-despised sliding-glass door. The having-to-replace-it-now part is less fun, but I'm thinking of going all Mad Max with this, too, using steel plates and an absurdly over-the-top lock while I consider back-door options. Video of the carnage to come (seriously).

And in honor of a winter we have yet to see 'round these parts, this: A crow sledding down a snowy rooftop:

Hope your holidays were wonderful, too. Happy New Year!

Tags: adventures of jack and stella, life, random cool stuff, stories from a perilous youth, teaching, writing

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