And just like that, NaBloPoMo is over. Where did November go, exactly? And along a similar vein, where the hell did December come from???
So, yeah, I managed to write a blog posting every single day1 Interestingly, I didn’t end up using hardly any of the ideas that I brainstormed before the month started2 – once I got going, I seemed to come up with things to blog about every day.
Also, I just looked at how I’m doing relative to my 2016 goal of writing 116 blog postings this year and I’m happy to see that as soon as I click “post” on this one, I’ll have 101 blog postings for the year – just 15 to go! So I just need to blog every other day in December, though now that I’m on a roll, I think I’m going to see how long I can make this blogging streak go!
And now, even though it’s unrelated to anything, is my new favourite song, which I heard on an old episode of the Caustic Soda podcast (I’m listening to older seasons that I hadn’t listened to yet):
And only had to backdate twice – once because I was writing late and it got past midnight and the other time because I was writing and got distracted and forgot that I hadn’t posted it until the next day. [↩]
I had planned one for my Mom’s birthday and one for my niece’s, and the Meta one was in draft, but I think that was it for brainstormed ones. [↩]
Tonight was the last class of the course I’m teaching this semester. Since it was my first time teaching this class, it was a crazy amount of work and I am so, so, so, so, so, so tired. But I have to say that I really enjoyed teaching this class! The material leant itself well to active learning – though I definitely want to increase the amount of activities and decrease the amount of me-as-a-talking-head even more next year. The students did their class presentations this week and last and they were excellent – they really went above and beyond to produce some stellar work. A few students stayed behind after class to chat with me – they said that they agreed that more in-class activities would be better and even had some ideas for possible activities. And they said that they got a lot out of the class, as it was so different from any of their other classes, and that they found the little extras (like stories I told that brought the concepts into real life situations and videos I shared that touched on the concepts we were learning) really added some depth to the class, and that they really appreciated the work I’d put into it. That’s the kind of feedback that puts a smile on this very tired instructor’s face!
The first time I learned about the concept of “meta” (though not by that name) was in my undergrad when I was taking first year drama and we studied a play called Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello, which we were taught was “self-reflexive”1 – i.e., it reflected on itself. In the case of Six Characters in Search of an Author, it was a play about a play in which characters, known as The Characters, show up and interact with The Actors and The Director.
Sometimes described as “X about X”, meta means “aprefixaddedtothenameofsomethingthatconsciouslyreferences orcommentsuponitsownsubjectorfeatures” (Source). So, a play about a play would be a meta-play. (Meta can also be defined as “a prefix addedtothenameofasubjectanddesignatinganothersubject thatanalyzestheoriginalonebutata more abstract,higher level”, but for this blog posting I’m going with the “X about X” definition.).
I started noticing a number of things that were meta and once you start thinking about it, you start to see it everywhere! For example, I’ve come across a number of meta things at work:
Metadata – data about data
Meta-analysis – when you analyze a bunch of studies to combine their results (so, in a sense, you are analyzing the previous analyses)
Meta-evaluation – evaluating an evaluation
Meta-scope – at work we had a group determining the scope of the project, but we had to determine the scope of what the scope group was going to scope
Meta-scrum – in Agile project management, you have something called a scrum meeting (where each working team gets together each day to plan its work) and one person from each scrum team (the scrum master) goes to a meeting of all the scrum masters, called the “scrum of scrums.” ButI liked to call it the “meta-scrum”
Meta-skepticism – this article caused a lot of discussion in the skeptical movement and I’m not saying that I think it was a good article; rather, it got me thinking about how you could be skeptical of skepticism and that would be meta-skepticism
Meta-passionate – being passionate about being passionate (see: Kalev’s blog)
Going with the arts theme, which is where I first learned of meta, you can have lots of meta-art:
And they I started thinking about all kinds of other things you could meta:
Meta-review – reviewing a review
Meta-monitoring – monitoring your monitoring
Meta-reflection – reflecting on reflecting
Meta-strategizing – strategizing about strategizing
Meta-decision – making decisions about making decisions
Metaphilosophy – philosophy about philosophy
Metaethics – the ethics of ethics
Meta-criticism – criticism of a criticism
Meta-data collection – data collection about your data collection
Meta-communication – communicating about communicating
Meta-planning – planning to plan
Meta-trying – trying to try
Meta-issue – having an issue with an issue
Meta-risk – a risk about risks
Meta-reporting – reporting about reporting
Meta-meeting – a meeting about meetings
Meta-assumptions – assumptions about assumptions
Meta-estimates – estimates of estimate
Meta-goals – goals about goals
Meta-objection – objections about objections
Meta-emotion – feelings about feelings
Meta-acceleration – accelerating the acceleration of something
Meta-pedantry – being a pedant about pedantry
Meta-idea – an idea about ideas
Meta-interactions – interactions of interactions
Meta-iterations – iterations of iterations
Meta-workaround – a workaround to get around workarounds
Meta-band-aid – a band-aid solution to cover up other band-aid solutions
Meta-blister – when a blister gets the blister (those are the worst!)
Meta-rabbit hole – when you follow rabbit holes and they have
Meta-joke – a joke about jokes
Meta-meta – being meta about meta (does this blog posting count as that?)
Although I’m sure there are countless more examples that I could come up with, I feel like I’m all meta’d out. The only other “meta” that pops to mind is metaphysics, which is “is a branch of philosophy investigating the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it” (Source). Which isn’t really physics about physics, is it? I’m not sure why it’s called metaphysics (but if anyone else knows, please enlighten me!)
Also, I can’t figure out why sometimes “meta” is hyphenated (as in meta-analysis), but other times it’s not (as in metadata)6.
Today’s blog posting is limited because I was too busy doing a workshop and then a conference planning teleconference and now I’m off to dinner and to see Avenue Q!
The workshop was a great success – the participants were very engaged and seemed to like what I had to offer. It was also a great networking experience – I may have gotten myself invited to guest speak in a class and may have volunteer myself for someone’s PhD committee!
I’ll let you know how the show is (I’m guessing tomorrow’s blog posting will be called “Q”)
As a 5 ft tall woman, I’ve grown accustomed to wearing heels so that I can walk amongst the normal height people and only look very, very short, as opposed to the very, very, very, very short that I actually am. As a shoeaholic (a trait I inherited from my mother), I have an extensive selection of heels. But I haven’t worn a pair of heels since June!
When I sprained my ankle, I figured it was pretty sensible to wear flats. Fortunately it was summer and I have a few pairs of sandals that are nice enough to wear to work. And since I’d read that when you sprain your ankle, you are at an increased risk of re-spraining it for 3-6 months afterwards, I figured as a precaution I should stick to flats for awhile even after my ankle felt better.
And then my hip problem happened. So I’ve continued to not wear heels, given the limping and the cane and, though I am now on the mend, I’m not 100% and so I don’t want to re-aggregate it. But here’s the thing: it’s no longer summer, so I can’t wear my sandals. I really only have one pair of work-appropriate flats and then are burgundy, so they don’t go with everything (I have one pair of black shoes that have a platform with a slight heel that I do wear sometimes because it feels more stable than a regular heel). Three of my four pairs of work-appropriate boots (plus my one pair of ankle boots) are heeled. And last night I slipped on my way home from dinner and when I got home and took off my one pair of work-appropriate flat boots, I noticed this.
Somehow I don’t think these will be waterproof anymore
I was at the grocery store today and looked at the headlines on the tabloids, as one does waiting in a grocery store line up. It turns out that the world has gotten so weird that the National Enquirer’s cover story is actually just the news.