Hey everyone, we are actually back. Welcome to a another belated episode of the all the things ADHD podcast.
belated but be graded. Maybe I just made up a word. Yeah, that means it's gonna be great. Maybe shit i oversold that already. We were here. It's alright.
It's okay. I'm one of your co hosts Lee Skallerup Bessette.
And I am the other one of your co hosts. Oh, I said it correctly. I screwed up the Copart I am one of your co hosts, Amy hope Morrison hoping to not slur my words for the rest of this recording session.
Yes. You've already had quite the morning though when it comes to recording sessions. So sorry. Can you just talk? Just I mean, just mentioned it briefly what what you've been what you've been up for.
I'm so pleased to be back on the air with you again. Thank you for inviting me. And yes, Elon Musk has done it again. Right. From brought you. Let's sleep under our desks and be extremely hardcore right to polls about what should I do? It's my whim. I would like my applause please. Or getting booed at Chappelle comedy show this past weekend. Elon Musk again, you remember I've said on this podcast before these white tech bros. screwing things up, make my life very busy because I always have to be on the radio. So I got a I got a last minute request. This morning at 630 in the morning from a radio station in Winnipeg that I talked to frequently like Jim, would you happen maybe to be available and able to talk about Elon Musk's latest fuckery in three hours, I was like, Sure. I didn't get out of bed. I did it from my bed. Tom brought me the phone and I did for bed. So
God bless radio.
God bless radio. And like, again, it's one of those things that I'm trying to remind myself that not everybody is comfortable getting an email at 635 in the morning and then doing a live radio show about breaking news at 930 in the morning, but I did that would do again, because have done many times already. Yeah, this week.
Yeah. Yeah. And you know, I What's more impressive to me, is the not the fact that you can get it done in three hours. Because I can do that too. Not to say that it's an impressive skill. What are more impressed about is that you're able to keep a level tone and not just go off on Elon Musk and Skirmisher. Yeah, I mean, that to me is the more the restraint. It's
yeah, I would have to be careful because like, if I make too much noise, he's just gonna ban me too, right? Like all those reporters that just got banned for reporting on who he's been banning. It's like, Oh, my God, it's banned. All the way down now. So yeah, you know.
You always just come and join us on mastodon. It's quiet there.
though, that we've seen you have reached a critical mass where it's like, you know, before I was like, No, I'm primarily Twitter, and I'll just sort of glance at Macedon. Now people are like, seem to be primarily mastered on and really, yeah, glad seeing at least in academic circles now. Okay, well, we could get in the hole. You know, it's not a great place for black people just like everywhere else. Everywhere else, just like everywhere else. And yeah, that was the thing that was shocking to me. Because I, the little known origin story for me on Twitter is that I got on Twitter, after I had just completed a year working at an HBCU. Oh, so I was still very interested in these issues, particularly as it pertained here in the United States, because that was something that was entirely new to me. Like we don't have HBCUs in Canada, right? No. And so just this whole idea behind all of it, so it was on Black Twitter from the beginning.
Sure, sure. I mean, it will be that's quite a way for you to join Twitter, actually, because Twitter is different from the rest of Twitter and Twitter was much more established than any other kind of white Twitter like journalism, Twitter, or like, you know, cute girl Twitter or like, whatever it happens to be like that hit early and it hit hard for various technological and cultural reasons. But that's a great way to to start on Twitter. Yeah, I get asked if Twitter right away.
Yeah. So it was so it was DH Twitter and Black Twitter. That was like my first two things on Twitter and, of course now go on, mastodon. And I'm just I'm, I am shocked by how wide it is. Oh, sure. Yeah, you know, mostly, you know, I mean, I follow a lot of academics which, but, but I just again, because of my my experience on Twitter when I first got on it, I think is so unique, but I just took it for granted, right where it's like Of course, you know, at least a third of my timeline is black
you know, it was unique for you. I was yeah, it was yet for you as a white female academic in the US right? It was not Yeah. Or Black Twitter.
I should probably clarify that but yeah, what the hell are we talking about today we're talking
about gratitude things that we are grateful and thankful for. We've been a bit of a crank fest understandably, the past the past few episodes, it's our years has been a lot too much, way too much entirely too much. Still ongoing too muchness. You know, waiting for the next layer to like, pile on to the other layer kind of too much this at this point. But I thought it would be nice, both for my own mental health and maybe our listeners, that, that we find some things that we are an insurer, some things that we are grateful for. Yeah, thankful for, you know, during as we as we approach a holiday season that I know for me is going to be extraordinarily difficult. And I know for others, for for a variety of reasons will also be difficult. And so maybe an opportunity to express some gratitude will help ease that even just a little bit. It will not by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly may ease ease things.
Yeah. So I think we will start with our annual disclaimer, that not everybody celebrates the Yes, ostensibly Christian holiday, known as Christmas. In either its religious or secular forms, right. Your mileage may vary. Perhaps you are a celebrator of Kwanzaa, or have Chrismukkah or have Hanukkah in the way it's traditionally been celebrated or Hanukkah, and it's guys as a kind of sort of Christmas. for Jewish people. Or any other holiday you may find this time to be if you're an academic, an overwhelming time in between semesters where you have to prepare and we have to finish off the fall semester and prepare all of the winter semester it doesn't feel particularly restful to you. Or maybe you have little kids and you really enjoy this time of year and the time off school and the break from work everyone's experience of the midwinter Solstice adjacent holiday time where much of the world has some type of formal stoppage and an informal tendency to wear sparkly things and over consume alcohol, or sugar or both. We recognize the wide variety of ways that people approach this season with a love or grief or hatred or exhaustion or overwhelm or irritation in their hearts. We see you all we welcome you. Today Lee and I are choosing to try to find things to be grateful about so we can enter into the high point of the season with a little bit more grace than we might otherwise manifest.
And we are recording this on December 16. And in five days in the northern hemisphere will be the longest night slash shortest day of the year salutely. And it may feel imperceptible we've talked about this in the past, but it may feel imperceptible that the days will start getting longer but nonetheless we definitely have been feeling that the days have been getting shorter and darker and colder and colder again northern hemisphere problems I get that too. But certainly that this is your holiday celebrations or no this is definitely the kind of eight the darkest before the light starts returning
where I live. Lee today the sun came up at 7:48am and will go down at 4:46pm which means we are now in are less than nine hours of daylight and at the midpoint of summer we will be getting something close to 16 hours of daylight so our daylight has essentially come very close to being cut in half veer
and shout out to everyone in Edmonton, Alberta.
40 Yeah, or people on the like leading western or eastern edge of every time zone where those things tend to be more pronounced and a little bit more crazy. And so the first thing I'm grateful for Lee, are you ready for it? Yes. So first thing I am grateful for is my light therapy lamp. There you go, which I keep plugged in by my bedside it has moved locations over the years, to the places where I tend to be first thing in the morning and lately I just get up in the morning and I go for my pee and I take my earplugs out and then I make some cereal and I get back into bed because that's where I want to be I read The New York Times on my phone and spend half an hour with my 10,000 locks. blast through my eyeballs. Wake me up a little bit and manage my seasonal depression. Sad. Lamp. Hey, so item number one. Yeah, yes.
I am grateful for my dog. Because well, you know, and they say that rightly that you should, you should expose yourself to sunlight, or at least daylights and I am grateful that my dog is old and therefore he himself sleeps in, but also that then he makes me take him out for a walk, or a thing in the morning so that I have at least some exposure to natural light, given that my office is in a basement and not a lot of excuses otherwise, to be able to do that. And so you know, he helps set the routine. Thankfully, he is, like I said, old so the routine doesn't start at 530 in the morning, less than more leisurely starts at 830 Or maybe nine, it's all right. So So on days where you can sleep in you actually can. And so I'm grateful for that, in that vein, where he gets me up gets me out gets me at least minimally moving. And, and then will snuggle with me on the couch for his morning nap.
Look, that sounds great. That's just amazing. I am here for that. And I, I would recommend to anyone who's listening the the kind of crucial mental health benefits of getting out of your house first thing in the morning, we walk our dog around the block. That's it. It's about 750 meters total. But there is just something about being outside even at like, you know, 801 when the sun has barely peaked above the horizon, it is coming at you at a degree such it will take you 400 years to get a sunburn from it. And it's overcast. Also, there is just something about being fully exposed in a 360 degree way to natural light and fresh air first thing in the morning for even 10 minutes yet does a remarkable kind of wake up process in my brain and in your brain and probably most people's brain. It's really easy to not do it. I will tell you for free that at 4pm. Yesterday, we had kind of an ice storm yesterday. It's like freezing rain. Yeah, we almost
did. We almost did it ended up just being rained, but you probably probably moved up into your area where we
did it did. And so like normally it's it's my kid who takes the dog first thing in the morning, but I usually get in the morning and get my coffee from Starbucks, which as we've discussed before is my way of making sure I get out of the house first thing in the morning he gets out 10 minutes of daylight. And I didn't do it yesterday because it was like freezing rain. And so it was 4pm and it was about to get dark like shortly. I had not left the house and why not how many steps my Apple Watch had tracked for me. 709 for the day, right for the day. Holy smokes. That's not enough. So I took myself out for according to my watch a 72 minute walk in the freezing rain, dusk. And even that did me a world of good even though sun went down to about 10 minutes into my walk. I just really needed to be outside. It's astonishingly easy to wind up at 4pm The sun is going down and you have 600 steps. Step. Wondering why you're feeling really shitty about life. And that's that's usually what it is. So I'm grateful for the outside. And you are grateful for your dog taking you outside. Yeah, I love it.
Yes. So I am great then. So by way of that is ensuring that I get out of the house, especially because I work at home. Which I'm grateful for as well. I'm grateful for my ability to work at home. I talked about this, where if I had to go into work even part time and run into people in the hall who would then ask me I haven't seen you in a while. How have you been? We did I had to I had to go to get Biden I was glad to go to campus on Tuesday was they see everyone but I did run into somebody unplanned. And they asked me how I was and I dealt with it. Yeah, yeah. So So I am grateful that I get to work from home. But the flip side of that is it is very easy then not to leave the house beyond picking my daughter up, which is like four steps to the car and then four steps back into the house. So again, I'm very grateful that I have the opportunity to coach swimming. That gets me out that gets me steps. Now it's not outdoor swimming. Thank goodness. It's a little cold for that. But it's a bit it's a bit much. Although we did it in California, not quite what it was this cold but there is no indoor pool. So it was sort of like well, we crank the heat up. It's only you know it's only five degrees. LCSW everybody, exactly, it was just like, well, we're just gonna swim, steam coming off the pool. But I am grateful that I get to go and coach, lovely, wonderful kids. And you know, as much as spending 14 hours at a pool on Sunday for a swim meet was a long and literally painful like I'm not as young as I used to be sort of thing for
standing for hard surfaces.
Yep, yep, hard surfaces, humid environment and a 45 year old body, which you know, so, but I am thankful because I do get my stepson walking back and forth across the pool. And to be able to engage with these wonderful swimmers and my fellow coaches is always just a delight. And always puts me in a much better mood than perhaps I was going into the pool.
I love that. I love that. I guess in a similar vein, I am grateful. Right now for holiday celebrations. Yes. i You won't believe this. I got through it though. This week. And Saturday. My, my family so me and my husband and my kid and my sister's family. So her husband, both of their sons and then both of their sons partners all drove down the highway to London, to to my dad's condo for what we were calling new mom Christmas, right. So kind of us went towards two of them and had a big sort of family tralala there for several hours and then you know much highway driving in the snow and then the very next day, and we turned around and drove to Niagara on the Lake, which is an hour and a half in the other direction. For a party at a colleague's house it was a Christmas slash Kwanzaa family slash gift exchange, gingerbread house making extravaganza. And I did not want to go because that's getting a car for a second day and putting lipstick on and a real bra and writing a Christmas card. And like bringing cookies and sharing family stories, I did not want to do it. Mostly because I didn't want to get in the car. And mostly because I just spent all day at new mom Christmas the day before. But I went and it was delightful. I met people I did not know, neighbors of mine. It was my colleague who invited me and so there were some other colleagues there as well as people from the neighborhood in Niagara on the Lake where my colleague lives and their children and I got to meet people's kids. And I had a great time. And so I guess I'm I'm grateful that people invite me places, right? Despite the fact that I'm cranky and antisocial most of the time. And I don't like loud fun. I like quiet fun in my pajamas in my own house. That did me good to get out. And I'm also grateful to my husband for coaxing me gently getting back in the car for the second day. Normally, I drive there and he drives back and Okay, for this party on Sunday. He's like, how about if I drove both ways? Would that help you? And I was like, yes. So I'm kind of grateful for the accommodations that he has provided me, so that I could then be grateful for the opportunity to make some new friends and participate in a party of like multi generations of people from different domains, some of whom I knew some of whom I didn't end for that chance to kind of enjoy myself. There. So that was, I feel really lucky about that. I feel grateful for that. Getting in the house, seeing people.
Yep. And there is something wonderful again, about the multi generation thing. Like there's nothing quite like having little kids around the holiday season.
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. So our host had purchased a bunch of the small gingerbread house kits and ornament decorating things. And he was like, Well, should we start doing the ornaments or the gingerbread houses? And I said, probably the most any hope Morrison TM thing I've ever said in my life. Are you ready? Okay, oh, we should start with the gingerbread houses because you have to put them together structurally first and let that drive for you do the decorating. I read a whole article about it and wire cutter in the New York Times. And so I am grateful that people continue to be my friend even though I turn gingerbread house making into an optimizable project into which I have done research. Ahead of time by accident, right?
Yeah. When you're on the New York Times getting really deep,
right? Yeah, exactly. I just don't have time to read stuff. Like why are you he's got some real abs like you have tips about gingerbread house construction. I am in for that. Right? It's all my areas home improvement, right renovation, construction, decorating, baking. I was like 100% all in for that. And then it was like two days later here I am at this party. It's was like, how should we do these houses that I was like? I was so excited. So, so excited. And I'm grateful that people are my friend, despite the fact that I am like this. Oh.
I in that note, I am grateful that there was chat GPT that came out. Oh, those of you who don't know the chat GPT is this new? Not AI powered, but there's like, it's not real AI anyways, whatever. So it basically learned how to write they taught a machine an algorithm, how to write very fluent prose, in various styles in various chars. It is very grammatically correct. It is not a low level fluency, it is a fairly high level, not necessarily graduate level, but certainly high school level fluency that it can right and of course, it comes out right before final exams. And so everybody loses their mind that all their students are gonna get a machined right all of their essays. And then it became my job to play with this tool. Oh, that's fun. Yes. So it gave, I asked it to write and about me, I should find this I asked me to write a Wikipedia entry about Lee Skallerup, Bessette. And it could it okay, it could have been more wrong. Let's let's all right, let's be honest, it would have been more wrong. This is a low bar. Lee, it could have been more wrong. It could have been more wrong. And part of that was because where's it was this year, I took a screenshot of it, of course, and tweeted it out. Oh, yeah. So um, Lee Skallerup. Bessette is an American educator, writer and speaker. Maybe I am American now. So okay, yes, that's true.
She's your ratio of Canadians. Again, we know the Tractatus? Yes,
yes. But, you know, it's it's, it's at least that statement is at least accurate that I am an American. Currently, not always. But right now, yes. She is currently an assistant teaching professor of writing and Digital Media at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Well, that's not even a little bit true.
Bissette was born in St. Louis, Missouri. her bachelor's degree in English education from the University of Missouri Columbia. No, no. salutely not. She went on to earn her master's degree in English literature from the University of Virginia, and her doctorate in education from the University of Maryland. Wrong. Yeah. Oh, super wrong. So here, here, we're back into the like, hey, well, you sort of got it right. In her teaching research beset focuses on the intersection of education and technology. I think that's taken directly from one of my about me's Sure. Good, yeah. Particularly in the area of writing and digital media. Okay. She has written extensively on this topic, true. And as the author of several books and articles true, including writing and digital media guide for the 21st century writer, and the digital writing workshop, which is news to me.
Fancy and important in ways I wasn't aware of. I liked what it says you wrote these things, because maybe you can also say that I wrote all of these things. I mean, does that mean republished?
I know. I know. Yes. No, I have I have written them. I'm the author of them. Not necessarily. Yes. Okay. It goes on because I said Wikipedia, not like a simple about me, I said a Wikipedia style entry. Wow. The set is also an active speaker and presenter and has given talks and workshops on a variety of topics related to education and technology. She's a member of the National Council of Teachers of English. I wasn't one point, the modern languages Association who isn't. And the International Society for Technology and Education, something that I didn't even know existed and might not exist because they like making up things. One more paragraph, which is my favorite. Okay, because it is so almost right, it hurts. But any basic Google search would have like corrected this. Okay. In addition to her work in education, Bissette is also a prolific blogger and social media user. Hey, yeah, it's very true, accurate taints. She maintains a popular blog, the clutter Museum, which is so unplanned but so not
right. I'm sorry. What? No. Huh?
The clutter museum which explores issues related to education, technology and writing, she is also active on Twitter. True true, where she has over 45,000 followers.
Do you have a lot of followers?
I think we have like 10,000 That's not 45,000 No, that's 45 laws and I was like, That is generous. Elon Musk. Yeah. Where, anyways, so that was just 12k I have 12,000 followers. So anyways, that's so basically just be it was able to spend a day having it right nonsense things right and asking questions, and then obsessively trying to find all of the reaction pieces to Chet GPT to create a Robin Zotero library, which I then shared widely and invited people to add to and are you
telling me Lee Skallerup, Bessette, famous author, that you actually use the Tarot for something. I'm grateful for that I have lied to you for three years about that. I
know. I know. I was like, Yeah, I was using it. And I was just putting stuff in a Google Doc. And I'm like, You know what this is? This is not going to help in the long run.
Could you hear me was I perched on your shoulder somewhere saying we
all exist? Yes. Yes. Yes. Don't write out
this citation by yourself. You ding dong. Yeah. Great. Yeah. I'm so happy. Yeah. Remember, everybody's a Taro is a free and open source bibliographic management software that can automatically from ISP, DNS and DUIs fill out a full citation in a database for you and export it in whatever style you choose,
and make it shareable to other people so that it can be useful. And, and collaborative. So I created an open Zotero group, which it now has last time, I looked, I think, 13 or 15 members, and they had grow on the list from
according to chat, GBT, 45,000 members,
45,000 members, yes, of course. And they had added at least doubled the size of the library, including people in DH who were much more who had been studying things like automated text and AI for much longer. And so not only did I have now the immediate reactions, but I also had some historical context to understanding what we were dealing with in terms of it being a tool. So I was very grateful that in this sort of dog days of the end of the semester, and all of that, that I was able to play with a chat tool and do nerdy research and say, This is my job doing this for my job,
right? Yeah, I didn't we have jokes sometimes that people should put you in charge of trying to break things, right. I know you've had some of these jobs, sometimes you're supposed to go click on all the links or read all the English or whatever it happens to be right. And they're like, Oops, this doesn't work. And then nobody yells at you. Right. So that's a fun thing to do is like, where's the cracks in this thing? I have read some of these think pieces about this particular piece of software. And, and I have read some of the things that software has written and yeah, I mean, I think it's very accurate, the way you're describing that it has, like a fairly sophisticated use of language and a good grasp of grammar, and it can put together coherent sentences and paragraphs that look like paragraphs, but they're largely insipid. Right? They are insipid. Oh, it just, it I think reinforces I think, as a as a teacher of English, and a teacher of composition that, that really, the writing part of writing is not actually the grammar and the sentence construct. Yeah, right. It's, it's the ideas and its capacity to delight. So this, this AI makes me happy in the sense I hope we will be having this conversation. Yes. Within teaching about how perfect prose that doesn't teach us anything. Right, that just regurgitates what's already out there with commas appropriately used is not actually what writing isn't, I'm hoping we can finally let go of worksheet gram or based writing instruction, right? Because now already the computer can do that better than you. So
yeah, I said it and I sort of repeated it, which is if we teach students to write algorithmically, yeah, you know, and then I sort of add, you know, a machine will always end up doing it better.
Absolutely. That's what they're for. That's what you're for. Yeah, so that's fun. I am grateful for another piece of software learn being so terrible. As I'm crafting my courses, for the next semester, I was becoming so frustrated with everything that I had an interesting conversation with my husband who said why do you have to put all that stuff online anyways? And I thought, Oh, shit. I don't write I think it's been so many years now of panic and pandemic, right. So yeah, one like my national big grant and my big travel fellowship in the spring of 2019. I have not had a normal semester since right because my mom got busy dying. Yeah, after that I was doing all this travel and the pandemic hit and was online teaching and then hybrid teaching elicit the kind of teaching and I had fallen into a way of building courses that was like I was essentially writing a textbook on every single every for every semester for every course and and part of my freshman One last semester while I was teaching was that students were not engaging with that material that I had put online. I think they were confused. Like, I think there was a lot that was online that was taking me a lot of time to put together and then they weren't dealing with that. And then I was expecting them to have dealt with it by the time they came to class, and they weren't ready to deal with class either. And so my husband's like, why don't you just take all that out? And hold? Well, that made my life a lot easier. And it's not like I've radically diminished. Like the teaching prep that I'm doing. I just, I guess a little bit over time over the last like, it's coming on like three and a half years, I've been trying to build courses like this because of various contingencies that no longer apply that I didn't realize I had created a new normal, that was purpose built for a crisis that we are no longer in, right? Yeah. And at
least we're not we're at least we're pretending we're no longer in it.
We're pretending we're no longer in I mean, but the odds of my university saying we have to go 100% remote for a whole or part of a semester, midway through is is almost no
way to say I think that's every university in North America right now. Let's be honest, right? Yeah, it's.
So I'm really grateful to my husband for being the one to notice, right that I was now trying to teach in the kind of web First, write a textbook wholly dependent website way, at the same time as I was bringing in all of the classroom things that I used to do as well. And it was just too much. And I was like, Oh, this streamlines things when I can keep stuff that happens in the classroom to something that happens in the classroom as not, in addition to something I have entirely produced for a website, right. And it brought me into a larger kind of space where I'm reevaluating. I think I had spoken on this podcast earlier this year about I had noticed that when I said I was glad to be back in the classroom, and my students were not nodding. I was assuming that they were back in the classroom, but they weren't the first time right university classrooms, even if they were a second or third year students. And I was like, oh, yeah, for me, it's like coming back. But it turns out, it wasn't right. It turns out that it's been so long, since I've had a regular semester, three years, like of my life, is actually really long time. Yeah. And I can't return even to the kind of teacher I was at the beginning of 2019, because I'm a different person, right, I have spent three years learning and in my field, and I've developed new pedagogies. And I become smarter in various domains about pedagogy, and also the subjects that I teach in. But also I'm three years like, older and more traumatized. And I have seen some things right. And my relationship thinks something's right, mostly in emergency rooms and up funerals. And, and I'm a different person now. And this kind of process of thinking, Oh, I can change how I'm doing my courses. Again, I don't have to teach it like I was teaching. The pandemic, has also brought me to this realization that I maybe need to spend some time thinking about who I am as a professor. Yeah, because there's been such a large gap of time, that it's not a kind of incremental sort of day by day, you change a little bit, you change a little bit and 10 years later, you see how far you've come? Right? There's been a hard stop for about three and a half years all told, of the things that have happened to me that have disrupted my ability to act in the workplace in the usual way, that I there's a lot of changes that I have not accounted for in myself. And at least now I know, that's something I need to spend some time and intention, thinking about, who do I want to be now I'm going to be 50 in a month. It feels like I know, right? To kind of think about what that next stage of my career looks like, I can let go of the strategies and survival tactics I'd use during the pandemic EMIC. But I can't go back to pre 2019. Because that's the past now, right? Yeah. I don't think I could do that in the same way. I don't think I would want to I don't think it would suit me or the students or the materials. So that's a big challenge. I'm at least grateful to see it for what it is in a moment of relative peace, where I can begin to think about how we want to address it. So I'm grateful
for that. Yeah. And not partway through the semester when you're you're figuratively tearing your hair out and going, what is and I think that's something important too, and that you know, I have another reason why I'm grateful for the coaching and because I'm not in the classroom as much, right. And when I am, it is with graduate students. It's a design studio. It's not, you know, it's more of a facilitator role than it is a kind of Professor role in that. But, you know, to keep that in mind, too, that our students and I'm grateful for my kids to help me with that and I saw Russ help me with that, but our students are also fundamentally different. Yeah, then they have been a lot of a lot of things that we just we, as institutions ignored, and thought we could ignore, but also new things, right? Like you were saying like this is this kids, the students first time in the classroom, we are all still dealing with the collective trauma of what happened. And so that's, you know, whenever they said we have to get back to normal. And there is something about that, right. There is something about I just read the book about she, she worked for NPR. And I always mispronounce her last name, but she, you know, she wrote about the disruption in the K to 12 system, and was doing a lot of stories about that for NPR, during the pandemic and saying, you know, talked with less psychologists, less psychiatrists, a lot of specialists and one of the things that is important to help us get through traumatic events, particularly for young people, is a sense of normalcy. That's right, right. So there there is the there are these twin forces where we all do for our own mental health, kids, adults want to return to a sense of normalcy. But then, at the same time, it's not. It's not this, like you're even saying, right, like, it's not the same normal. And yours. Yours was probably more traumatic than some, but also not necessarily.
Not that we will like an outlier, right? No details were different. But
yeah. Yeah, I mean, everybody was was touched, everybody lost someone, everyone lost a lot of some things. And someone's and, you know, it's, it's trying to keep that grace. In your mind when you're working, like for me working with faculty, reminding faculty, this when they're working with students, and when we're rethinking, doing things like rethinking our teaching, is all right, where are like, again, more so than ever before? You know, meeting our students where they're at, rather than where we think they should be?
Yeah. And maybe I think I hope people are coming around to this, as I'm coming around this to is meeting ourselves where we're at, yes, particularly those of us who have positions of responsibility, right? Leaders have things like you guide faculty members, and you facilitate student work and you coach swimmers, and you know, I'm a professor, that leadership role in many parts of my life, where I have been told over and over, it is important for me to extend compassion and grace, and understanding and wiggle room and leeway to people without really getting much of a sense that anyone expected I ought to be able to extend those qualities to myself, as well, right? Like, I feel I should get some increment of a merit raise for every time the university has sent me an email that thanks me for my continued flexibility. Right? Yeah. But they don't, they're just like, you know, students are really going through it. So you need to bend over backwards to help them Yep. Without ever recognizing that faculty members and academic staff, right, are also really going through it and no one is extending jack shit to them institutionally by way of understanding, right? It's probably because they are paying us and the students are paying in right university pays out to us. And so it's going to extract every last bit of emotional and practical labor from us, but we'll be willing to meet students where they're at because that's sweet, sweet tuition revenue that they don't want to, to lose their so getting a sense there to that just because you are the person in the room who is in charge and you are responsible for producing a sense of normalcy does not mean that you have to pretend that you are okay. Right. Yeah. Or that you have because sometimes you need to sing verses. Yeah, that's right. Yeah, sometimes you need to think so I guess I am grateful to, for my I'm grateful for the way that the universe kind of forced me to have a sit down and accept my own vulnerability and limits. And I hope to learn from this experience that I had, that it is worth attending, you know, to my own needs, for compassion and flexibility and understanding and that it's okay to push back when people are always demanding that you continue to give to others when it is not really possible to do that anymore. I'm hoping that's just going to help me in my goals of being compassionate with my students is to recognize not just that they are a special category of broken, immature young person, but that we are all broken and we share this together. Right? That that can be a sense of normalcy, right? It doesn't have to be perfect. We don't have to pretend that some of us are not broken in order for things to be a new kind of normal, which just means consistent, right? Yeah, I can produce consistent classroom environment so I can be clear with others about where I'm at and what my limits are and what my capacities are and what my interests are, and I can I can produce an environment that's supportive in that way, but I think It's growth for us if we realize it's not just the students that need help, we all need help. And we have to help each other. And I'm kind of grateful for that. more expansive sense of where the compassion should go.
Yeah, no, definitely. You're also are grateful. I want to I just want to make sure because I do actually have to go pick up my daughter. It's her last day of school. Yeah, it's the last day of school. Yeah. Are you do you have school? Does your does your child is in school until the 23rd. Okay, so but they then after back on the back end, okay. So we're back on the third. So we're getting this week in, I had a moment of panic, because I saw my Canadian friends are like, Oh, this is all the stuff my kids have to do next week with the dressing. And I'm like, Oh, my gosh, it's their school next week. I hope taught because we all think there isn't a real checked all the calendars. Yeah. Anyways. But it is her last day, and I do need to go get her. And she's very happy about that.
I think I know what Cassie is grateful for. Yeah, yeah. No more school.
No more school for two weeks. Lots of time to work on your minecraft server and her passion project, which is a multimedia horror story. Seriously, she's like, one day I should have her on. And she can regale everyone because she'll tell you all about it. It's so cool. Both are brilliant. I'm great. I'm grateful that my daughter is as creative and wonderful as she is. In that we go to, we went to we actually had my husband's work at his Christmas party last night. And so we went and one point my daughter and I got separated. And that wasn't a big place. But like I was in one room and she was in another and I went to go and see if she needed rescuing. And it turned out that maybe the people she was regaling needed were the ones who needed rescuing. But I love it. But everybody was very impressed. And she always comes in going like everybody really loved my story idea. And everybody's really impressed by it. I'm like, Yeah, because you're a 15 year old. Like, yeah, but but I do want to and I think this is a great metaphor to leave people with and you know, wish for the new year. So what is what is the metaphor that you have just learned? Well, it's not a metaphor, it's an actual thing, but it's a great
it's an actual thing, I've turned it into actual thing or Yeah, which is like the best metaphors right are rooted in reality. So I'm probably in my fourth year honors seminar for the winter, my selfies course I'm teaching again and I re do elements of it every year and I want to bring more of an emphasis on the mechanics of photography because I'm interested in how people say like this is an authentic and that's an authentic and you've edited this photo and this that and the other as if like the sort of whatever the camera tends to capture is itself authentic in some ways, but photography is not like that. Photography, if you do it at all seriously is about managing the settings on the camera right to produce the least amount of certain types of distortion or to achieve particular types of effects using different set things related to exposure and aperture and color space the 70 other Okay, great. So, I'm learning about lenses and lenses. The optical science here is really interesting, but things that tend towards the outside of the picture the edges of the picture tend to have visual distortions associated with them right. They can be chromatic distortions of the colors or if he or two types of visual distortion were straight lines with curved one of them is called a barrel distortion and one of them is a pin cushion distortion and these are also metaphors and I love it but the
clearest anybody with really thick glasses will understand know this intensely like it like intimately you will know exactly what because these are basically lenses in that same way. If it's off a little bit or if it's really thick, you can see those lines and see
things go weird or you get the rainbows at the edges of your lenses in your peripheral that's chromatic aberrations but I mean and sidebar here if you look up these optical effects like on the internet generally you'll get answers that pertain to cameras but also the pertain to human eyes and glasses that people wear which I think is just kind of amazing but what really struck me today was the the part of the lens through which things are the least distorted is called and I love this this blend of like technical and colloquial terms it is called wait for it. The zone of least confusion that is delightful. I know he's already confusion not right the clearest zone or like the like Apex focal area like it's not Yeah, you're writing it down. You're ready. I can see your writing.
Yeah, no, I write it down because that's gonna be the frickin name of the well no, I don't think so. Because that'll be a huge spoiler.
And it was the least confusion. I love it because it's like, zone feels like you know because Like there's the zone system and photography, like the square grid, and like all of these things you can do like zone just really sounds like a grid, something that's been mapped out, but like, confusion is obviously chaotic. And it's not like this is the zone of no confusion, right? It's the least complete confusion, which just like there's something about the phrase absolutely struck me. And then the metaphorical possibilities of the structure because of course, what lenses do at their best is focus things. And that's the theme of this podcast Lee that people with ADHD have trouble managing focus. And often we find ourselves with our mismanaged focus in the zone of most confusion, right? So I have
most confusion, extreme confusion, extreme version, overwhelming confusion,
the zone of least awareness, right zone, at least, least insight, the zone of most self perplexity, or what have you, but I just I love the squishiness of this term zone of least confusion and there's diagrams, right? So you can actually diagram in a fairly scientific way, the zone of least confusion is this like, absurd blend of incredible specificity and mathematical rigor with these languages, right, that just are so soft and ambiguous. And yeah, she and human, I love it. And as an ADHD metaphor, I think it's great to Yes, right? That the lenses that we use to operate in the world have zones of more or less confusion, produce more or less visible distortion depending on the angle of view and the contextual conditions, right. This is a perfect metaphor. So I, I guess I am, I am grateful for the internet. I am grateful when I am reading so my friend Carter loaned me a book, I got a new camera for my 50th birthday. It's not my 50th birthday yet, but the camera was on sale. So I got this new camera and, and my friend Carter has a similar one. And he has a really great technical book about it, which he loaned to me because you know, I love that stuff. And so grateful. My friend Carter loaned me this book and went to a graveyard to take pictures with me so we could practice using our cameras. And that, that when I was reading about barrel distortion in this book, that I had a computer in my pocket that I could pull out, and Google barrel distortion, which led me down this delightful rabbit hole that ended up in the zone of least confusion. I'm just grateful that the internet allows ADHD brains to just really thrive like if it hits you right now that you really want to know about something you can absolutely really know about it and who knows what amazing effects it's going to bring into your day. Yeah, how much you laughed at this already. Look how much fun we're having with the zone. It
delighted me it delight I had to find a way to like, get it into the theme. Like I said, I've like we have to find a way like let's be grateful for metaphors.
You know, and your AI chat GPG is never going to write a metaphor that uses the zone of least confusion. It's just not. No it's just not because it cannot think metaphor can't make
that leap. It doesn't can't know like, yeah, it can't delight and so I guess I am grateful for delight in the delight that this podcast always brings me and we hope it also brings you to light I would imagine it does since you keep listening to it if it didn't. I don't know what to tell you. That's between you and your therapist. But but we do wish you a good winter break it for those of you who in the northern hemisphere in the southern hemisphere, there is still a bias towards the Christian traditions. And so therefore there is probably something to do with Christmas or holiday break in the middle
turn of the light dear listeners HATE YOU FOOL in the face. Right when you need to be in the zone of least confusion.
Yeah, the zone of least confusion. And with that, I'm pretty sure we probably will not be doing anything before the New Year.
Absolutely not. No. We're done. Promise.
Yeah, this we can actually guarantee I guarantee we will not be doing it until January
now nice to have some certainty Yeah.
Is it dice though? Other than that I can say with no certainty
that remains out of focus,
if you will, is that zone of most confused. Confusion? Or some confusion? Maybe not most this zone of like and only enough confusion to make it difficult? Like the prescription is not quite right. Anyway, so maybe safe. May you find some peace. And may you have loved ones to hug and we'll see you and oh my gosh, I can't believe I believe I'm saying this we'll see you in 2023 Yes, 2023
Oh my gosh, that'd be alright silly.
Although I don't even want to attempt it at this point. Like it was remember all of those COVID Memes where it was like 2019 was like This was the worst 2020 was like hold my beer, my beer. And then 2020 was like we're so terrible and 2021 was like hold my beer. And then 22 was like smashing the beer in 2020 one's face. And like racy.
Yeah. Yeah. Now Gracie. Good night Gracie. Or is the stop button