Tuesday, April 22, 2008

No time to brew

I am having one of the busiest semesters of my teaching career. As we approach the end of the semester, things only get busier.

The race analogy is overused and cliché, but....

Teaching is like running a race.

Back in my high school days, I was on the field and track team. I know, it's supposed to be "track and field," but my forte was in jumping events, and I have a greater love for the field events.[1] While jumping was what interested me most, I was also a pretty decent long distance runner. The only problem is that I hated[2] running long distances. I could do it, but I didn't like it. Through incremental apathy I eventually worked my way down from running the mile to the 400 meter "dash."

The 400 meters is an interesting race. It is essentially a sprint. There is no time to coast. Once around the track as fast as you can go. The first 300 meters is tolerable, but the last 100 meters is torture. There is something about rounding that corner, seeing the finish line and feeling the lactic acid[3] in your legs screaming to be oxidized back to pyruvate. It is something that only feels good when you've reached the 402 meter mark.

That's how teaching college feels to me. It starts at a sprint and does not slow down. For most of the semester, the pace is tolerable. But, the last 3 weeks are frenzied with activity and laced with lactate burn. The end is in sight, but to reach it will require some pain.

What I really mean to say is: I want to brew some beer but time and energy are lacking. Maybe I'll just have to carve out a chunk of time to brew and screw the rest.[4]

[1] I still hold my high school's high jump record. Of course, that was about 25 pounds ago.
[2] and hate
[3] actually, lactate.
[4] that is one of the weirdest sentences I have ever written "brew and screw?" What the hell is that?


the incomparable mjenks said...

"brew and screw" is assonance...

...or a good weekend at the Jenks household.

Chemgeek said...

I thought you were being a smart ass with your word "assonance" until I looked it up in my Webster College Dictionary. This is the first time I have ever seen that word used. My question is: how in the world could a word that contains 'ass' avoid my detection? I can guarantee that if I had learned the word "assonance" in high school, I would still use it regularly.

assonance. what a word.

milkshake said...

if you lactate, maybe you shouldn't be running the races

Ψ*Ψ said...

best comments ever! :D

the incomparable mjenks said...

The other day as I was writing out an experimental procedure, I wrote down how much potassium acetate I used for the reaction.

And then I chuckled to myself gleefully (aloud) that this base gave me a double-dose of ass. It's the most asstastic reaction I can think of (up to now).

Chemgeek said...

I always think I'm funny when I talk about "hemi-acetals" in class. I remind them that "hemi" means "half" so it is a "half-acetal"

As a rule, I try to make that the only time I say "ass" in class.