Things have slowed down a little bit over this past week; my new schedule is a bit problematic. Right now I’m taking about 16 credits and working 3 days a week (15-20 hours a week, plus 4 hours a week of commuting back & forth), so I’ve been getting up about 6 and not returning home until 12 hours later. Part of the reason for the slow down, outside of time constraints, has been my desire to finish my post about horse evolution, a subject that I’m not especially familiar with so I’ve needed to catch up on some background reading (especially the more modern stuff). It’s about 3/4 of the way done, and it should be complete just in time for The Boneyard (have you submitted yet?).
I also must admit that I’ve been a bit depressed over the past few days. For whatever reason (I’m thinking it’s the temperature/photoperiod + bad memories) I’ve been rather down on myself, and I’ve been plagued by a lot of self doubt. Especially in terms of blogging, I’ve felt something like a little fish in a rather big pond, full of more intelligent and capable science bloggers who are actually doing scientific work whereas I only read about it in my free time. This isn’t a signal of the end of blogging here, and I’m sure my mood will improve eventually, but for lack of a better term I’ve felt a little intimidated lately, especially since I don’t regard myself as especially talented or bright.
In terms of books I’ve slowed down a little as well, although I hope to finish the wonderful Bones for Barnum Brown tonight. Sometimes I wonder if I should just be an AMNH historian, being the amount of time I spent reading about their collections and paleontologists of years past, especially given my recent book purchases. I was able to find a whole slew of cheaply-priced books by Edwin Colbert and G.G. Simpson (between $0.01 and $1.50), and I’m sure I’ll especially enjoy Simpson’s works (next to Stephen Jay Gould he’s probably my favorite evolutionary scientist).
I’m also thinking that I need to really get serious about my work on my book. I think I’ve taken in enough information at this point that I at least have some decent ideas, and even though I have a lot to learn it might be more productive to pick a topic, dig through the stacks of books I’ve accumulated, and write on a topic instead of trying to condense entire works. Down-time between classes, especially as things get colder, might provide at least a few hours a day to work.
I’m thinking of taking a paleontologically-oriented trip or two in the near future. I haven’t yet visited the Big Brook area in New Jersey, nor the trackways in Connecticut, nor the Calvert Cliffs to the south, so even though it’s getting late (and I really should have gone out more in the summer) I hope to make a few field forays before things get too cold. Many of the fossil sites in New Jersey are inaccessible to me because of development of property rights, so I’m going to have to do a bit of traveling if I want to give myself some more experience in the field.
So that’s how it stands now. And I will get something up tonight, as I definitely want to write my own response to Matt’s on-target critique of modern natural history museums.