Friday, February 4, 2011

Year 1, Semester 2, Week 3

It's the Coldpocalypse!

UNM was open for less than 2 days this week, so there isn't too much academically related to write about. I can, however, elaborate on how this became the least productive week of all time. UNM and other schools and universities enacted 2-hour delays every day this week since Tuesday, which all turned into early closures. On Thursday I made it in to school, for my own classes. All of my teaching was canceled because of the delay and because they closed early. When I got home yesterday afternoon I had an email indicating that the university wasn't going to open again until Monday of next week.

What was the cause of all this chaos? Initially it was the cold temperatures. The other night it was -11F, and the daytime temperatures over the past few days have been in the single and negative digits as well. It's just not a good idea to head out in that kind of cold if you don't have to. I've been spending so much time inside that I'm starting to get antsy, which was why I was excited about making it into school yesterday. Matt and I have ventured out a couple of times to get food and rent movies and make sure our cars still work, but that's about it. I was really bummed about Friday's classes being canceled, since they are my "fun" classes.

The other issue that made it difficult to keep buildings open this week was a lack of natural gas for heating. All of our gas comes from Texas, which also had a major cold snap. The cold there caused electrical outages and the failure of compressors which move the gas into New Mexico. Here's a link to more information on that. UNM had been trying to operate on diesel, but I think we all just finally cut our losses by the end of the week. The governor issued a state of emergency, because a lot of people don't have heat in this ridiculous cold. There are shelters open in parts of the state. Luckily Matt and I haven't had any problems, other than me running around trying to figure out what was going on.

I was completely prepared to teach this week, and spent much of Wednesday prepping my lecture for class. What a colossal waste of time. I was also counting on going into school to work on a project for my GIS class, which I can't do now. Everything is shut down. I have a CD which I think has a trial version of the program I need, but from what I heard from other classmates, it isn't easy to install.

Dealing with my students and trying to predict what was going to happen this week was also another fun activity. Homework and make ups become a huge issue when these sorts of things happen. The main office was a nut house with students trying to get things turned in before the university closed. As it turns out, because labs have been officially canceled for the week and the University is shut down over the weekend, everyone has until Monday afternoon to get it all it. Which makes all the craziness yesterday seem silly and unnecessary. I thought the woman in the office was going to have a meltdown.

I have, however, been getting emails from people who are at work today. Our department was doing interviews for new professors over the past couple weeks. All these problems have made it very complicated, the woman who interviewed yesterday was supposed to give her lecture on Tuesday. She's been here since Sunday, and she's from New Zealand. Talk about the worst week possible to come here. Also, I just got an email indicating that there is free lunch somewhere in the building, because the meeting it was intended for was canceled. The only people who are around are necessary personnel and people who just can't get away from their work and experiments.

I have had it with this week. I'm not going to worry about anything else until the state has this emergency under control and I can actually count on being able to go to work. Student problems just aren't a priority at the moment.

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