What I Did on my Christmas holiday

It was, as usual, a busy time these past couple of weeks. At the end of December, I tried to blitz through my marking as quickly as I could, to get final grades submitted before everything shut down for the holidays. Then there was Christmas: made a turkey, the kids went crazy ripping their presents open, and my wife still hasn't opened the iPad I got her (it...scares her).

Then there were a bunch of furlough days, when I was not supposed to be working. So, on my furlough days, I did some work. Waitwaitwait--nothing related to the University (of course), but my contract work for Nelson Education. I'm a consultant for their higher education division, working on the websites for their Canadian (or "Canadianized") psychology textbooks. (Full disclosure: yes, I do get paid for this. And yes, I do use Nelson textbooks in two of my classes But I do not get a single cent in kickbacks for choosing their textbooks. And the textbooks I've chosen are not Canadian ones, so my consulting work has nothing to do with those books.)

In between furlough days, I also started planning out a research study. Because of my good relationship with Nelson, I got a very nice offer from them. Susan, the publisher's local representative (we call 'em "book reps"), and her manager offered to give students in my perception course free access to their integrated online etextbook/study guide/online lab called CengageNOW. It's a bit surprising to hear about publishers giving anything away...it seems to good to be true. There is one catch: they're not doing this to show that they really are a sweet, generous, kitten-loving company; they're doing this to get some direct feedback from students on CengageNOW. And there's another catch: they only had 60 free access codes to give away. We decided that the fairest way to distribute them in my class of 214 students was random selection. Those are pretty good odds: a 28% chance of getting a free textbook. You're welcome! Oh, and my research part? I don't want to say too much, so let me just say that I want to see how well students do. That's all for now.

I also let myself have a little fun. A favourite activity that my girls like to do is bake pretzels from scratch. Because they're only 6 and 2 years old, that means I have to do most of the work, while they just try to roll out a few balls of dough and sprinkle way too much salt on them. But that's OK--I don't mind eating these misshapen, overly salted pretzels because they're made with love (sniff). Um, also, the pretzels taste really good after you've been outside shoveling a mountain of snow for (I kid you not) three hours. Oh, I had help--from a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old armed with a princess snow shovel and a Dora snow shovel, respectively. (As you can see from the picture above, I'm rockin' the snowblower while my crew takes yet another coffee break.)

Please tell me your holiday was more exciting than this. Please!

Why aren't you studying?

6 comments:

Anastasia said...
on

My holiday was more exciting than this.

Anonymous said...
on

At least you got to use a snow blower; I had to use a shovel. It wasn't a princess snow shovel or a Dora snow shovel, but it was still just a god damn shovel.

Karsten Loepelmann said...
on

@Anastasia: Tsk, so literal. OK, how's this? "Tell me what you did that was more exciting than what it did."

@Anonymous: I only used the snowblower for about 10 minutes, then gave up. It's electric, so it chokes on any snow deeper than 5 cm. And if there's any wind--even a whisper of a breeze--all the snow ends up on my neighbour's driveway, which they don't like. I ended up using a snow pusher and snow shovel; that's why it took 3 hours...

tamathestoryteller said...
on

Those pretzels look so good! I wish I could bake.

Anastasia said...
on

"Tell me what you did that was more exciting than what it did."

Don't refer to yourself as it, you're a person!

I covered my whole ceiling in tinfoil, cried a little, and learned to tell when it's not butter. It was a holiday well spent.

Karsten Loepelmann said...
on

@tamathestoryteller: You want the recipe? I've modified Alton Brown's recipe. C'mon, give it a try!

@Anastasia: My tpiyng ins't so good bceuase I'm tierd. My kdis wkae up at nhgit and cry a lot. Srory!

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