27 June 2005

Nuthin' but news

I found out this afternoon that all my teaching release requests for next year have been granted. This is great news, because it means I'll be moving from six classes per academic year to four. Which is (best Chris Eccleston voice) fantastic, because it means I can slate just one for the fall, when I need to be doing research on animals that are only available then, and do the rest of the courses in the spring. It reduces the chance of my head exploding sometime later in the year, too.

I am largely finished another grant proposal for the NSF. This one will be a bit of a risk, because it's venturing into a new area of research for me, getting away from the emphasis on neurobiology and behaviour that has been my mainstay to date. But you live and learn, or you don't live long, as Heinlein said.

Next writing project is my poster for the International Tunicate Conference in California next month. The news there is that my co-author on the poster, Virginia, informed me today that she's had minor surgery on her arm and can't go with us as planned. So our travel plans have been completely thrown up in the air. It just isn't easy going anywhere this summer! Louisiana visit falls through, California trip all wonky, and loose plans for other trips are still just that -- loose.

But speaking of writing the poster, how am I able to do all this writing? All thanks to the power of having minions! My two students, Michael and Sandra, have been given the task of going to the beach today. They get to muck around in the warm water and collect animals while I stay in my office and write, and write, and write some more. I'm not sure which of us is getting the better deal. Sunburn or repetitive strain injury? Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions...

Here's the new Dean, same as the old Dean. Literally. After we lost Michael Eastman, who went back to University of Texas El Paso, the assistant dean, Ed LeMaster, stepped in as interim dean. There was a search, and Ed put his hat in the ring. Somewhat to my surprise (surprise not because I think the less of Ed, but for other reasons), he got the gig and will be the real, actual, factual Dean for a while. I think that means the university now has two colleges (out of six!) with actual Deans instead of interim Deans.

Additional: I believe I noted some time ago that a kid's magazine, Spider, was doing a story about sand crabs (or, as they called them, mole crabs). I supplied them with some photos for that. I just now received the copies of the July issue that feature the article. I'll see if I can't get a small thumbnail scan up here a little later.

And that's just some of the stories we're following this week.

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