Archives for posts with tag: academics

[zotero]For those who are not familiar with it, zotero is a free and insanely useful reference management program that integrates directly into Firefox. Among the new features of Version 2.0, which is just about to exit beta, is an improved annotation tool that allows you to add notes to your bibliographic material. Thanks to it, all of my reading notes now “live” side-by-side with the related articles and books in zotero.

Since the annotation tool is built using the Open-Source WYSIWYG TinyMCE editor, it also means that you can speed up entry by using keyboard shortcuts. The only problem… figuring out what the shortcuts are… So, to help, here’s a list of the ones I’ve discovered through trial, error, and web searches:

Zotero/TinyMCE Keyboard Shortcuts

  • ctrl+z — Undo
  • ctrl+y — Redo
  • ctrl+b — Bold
  • ctrl+i — Italic
  • ctrl+u — Underline
  • ctrl+1 — h1 (headline size 1)
  • ctrl+2 — h2 (headline size 2)
  • ctrl+3 — h3 (headline size 3)
  • ctrl+4 — h4 (headline size 4)
  • ctrl+5 — h5 (headline size 5)
  • ctrl+6 — h6 (headline size 6)
  • ctrl+7 — p (paragraph)

Also in there, but not particularly useful are:

  • ctrl+8 — div (note that you can insert DIV tags into the underlying HTML of a zotero not, but it really doesn’t do anything)
  • ctrl+9 — address (an HTML tag used for tagging physical address info — as in where something is in the real world)?

I’ve been scouring the web for additional shortcuts (in particular I’d love to find indent and quote) but have yet to find anymore. If you’ve discovered any other ones, please leave and comment and I’ll update this list.

“Matt, you look comfortable…”

Uh-oh. That can’t be good.

Those words were spoken by Mark, my friend and martial arts instructor, in the middle of a workout last night. While I’ve been studying with Mark for more than a decade, its been difficult for me to give it the time it deserves over the last few years. Since I’ve been at Cornell, I’m lucky if I get in one workout a week.

Still this wasn’t the comment I was expecting. Out of shape? Sure. Rusty? Definitely. Looking like I can’t punch my way out of wet paper bag? Harsh, but unfortunately close to the truth. But comfortable? WTF? None of what I’m doing currently feels comfortable.

“Sifu, exactly what do you mean by comfortable?” I asked.

“It’s your stance…”

“What about it?”

“It’s all wrong. Your sitting on your back leg, you hips are shifted forward… you look comfortable.”

Oh… its that bad.

Losing one’s stance is a cardinal sin in the martial arts. Instructors drill into students that even in the most dynamic of martial arts, everything starts and returns to stance. Many incorrectly interpret this to mean that a stance as a static position, or worse, a moment of respite. Instead, one’s stance needs to exemplify dynamic stillness, allowing one the freedom of movement and action, of initiation, of response. If you don’t have stance, then you’ve lost the basis of everything that you do. Put simply, if your stance is crap, chances are everything else is too.

“Sorry Sifu. Can you help me find my stance again?”

And he did. It took a little while. Part of the problem is that I was “mashing up” the stances of different arts I’ve studied over the years. But part of the problem was a misunderstanding on my part.

“Sifu, I thought part of the process of making the stance your own is to get comfortable in it.”

“Ah… no. Your stance should be familiar, but never comfortable.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about that since last night. It seems like one of those lessons that goes far beyond the martial arts. In my work at Cornell, and elsewhere, I often get down on myself because it feels like I’m fighting too hard to make things work. I often ask myself why isn’t this easier? But as with my stance, I need to abandon hopes (or promises) of comfort. After all, all comfort and ease provide is a false sense of security. It seems to me that familiarity is a better ideal to pursue.

Now, familiarity isn’t necessary a panacea. And it’s clear that one can get comfortably familiar with the wrong thing, see the beginning of this. But familiarity tethered to the “now” through work, if not discomfort — that seems like a particularly productive mode of being (in the world).

The syllabus is done but not complete

The FWS prep class last night went really well. My discussion group was pretty impressed with the syllabus I put together. They had some excellent feedback about assignments as well. I still have to find a way to reduce the readings for the class — if for not other reason to ensure my own sanity.

I also know at least one student has the required books. I know this because I stood behind him in line today at the bookstore and I’m pretty sure I’m the only teacher at Cornell using this particular work. I resisted the temptation to talk with him. I really don’t want to be “that professor”… at least not yet.

Class begins at 10.10 tomorrow with a short writing exercise. I’m a little nervous about it only being 50 minutes long. That’s a really short amount of time — the shortest class time block I’ve ever taught in. So it will be interesting to see how it goes.

For those who are interested, you can check out version 1.0 of the syllabus here:

And I’m calling it v1.0 for a reason. One of the notes in it says it all:

Be Prepared for Changes
I reserve the right to alter the syllabus at any time. In fact I guarantee that I will before the end of the semester. When in doubt about a reading, an assignment, or a due date, ASK! And always refer back to Blackboard for the latest information about the class.

Be Prepared for Changes

I reserve the right to alter the syllabus at any time. In fact I guarantee that I will before the end of the semester. When in doubt about a reading, an assignment, or a due date, ASK! And always refer back to Blackboard for the latest information about the class.

I think I could have hugged the undergrad who asked me this earlier today, as we sat waiting for the class to start. From professor to sophomore. What could be better than that?* Definitely an advantageous start to the quarter… oops, semester. I don’t quite know what to do with myself given 15 weeks of classes instead of the usual 10.

[*Note that I’m going to ignore the possibility that she might have been thinking “man that’s a haggard looking second year!”]

So one shopped class down. Definitely won’t be taking that one (The Psychology of Social Computing). It seemed interesting, but the room was packed and apparently the waiting list was 15+ deep. Next up is my first Anthro PhD class. It’s one I began to take last year, so I’m pretty familiar with what will be asked of me.

As a total aside, yesterday, while driving back to Ithaca, I stopped off at the Thirsty Owl Winery on rt 89. I cannot accurately describe how great it is to drive alongside a Finger Lake on a sunny day, so I’ll let the picture do the talking (there’s more on Flickr.)

The day is winding down. It’s 6.44pm and I’m going to see Harold Lloyd’s wonderful movie The Freshman. The day has been a busy one. I’m registered, I have my ID and my first stipend check. I’ve seen my apartment and gotten the chance to talk with a few people from my department. The next few days will be a strange combination of hurrying up and waiting.

I didn’t get the chance to shoot many photos, but here’s a sample of some of the sights and scenes from today: