Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When brains insist on vacation

So, I promised today part II of academic bullies, but it will have to wait. Normally I come into work, drink a cup of coffee, write a piece for the blog while my brain boots up, and then roll into my day. I wrote the academic bullies pieces this weekend at home and my brain was not capable this morning of doing anything outside the coming to work routine, so academic bullies is at home and I'm here. I'll try to post it this evening when I get home.

However, I feel like my morning isn't complete if I don't write something and what is on my mind right now is that my brain is being seriously rebellious. I have lots of things I need to do, but very little that my brain will agree to focus on. My brain and I have always had a delicate relationship and I have learned over the years that if I treat it like the highly-strung, delicate apparatus it is, I can get great mileage out of it, but if I ignore the weird sounds and sluggish performance, it will come to a grinding, screeching halt just when I need it the most. I've been pushing really hard this summer for a variety of reasons that I may blog about in the future. Suffice it to say, that I've been ignoring my brain's warning lights for a little too long. Yesterday, it pretty much flat-lined on me. After some attempts to jump start my brain with caffeine paddles, I managed to revive it enough to finish my presentation for next week. But the strain was too much and when my brain started to flat-line again, General Disarray insisted that my only hope for finishing out the week with any semblance of productivity was to go home and let it rest.

I know so many people who seem to have brains of steel and I envy them in some ways. I could be so much more productive if my brain didn't need to take down-time, but I have found that my brain needs its quiet time...time when it is apparently...thinking.

I know it is weird to speak of one's brain in the third person, but I do sometimes feel like I have an uneasy truce with something I do not quite control. My responsibilities involve feeding it (it loves science, languages, history, art, and video games), taking it on 'field trips' (it seems to love traveling abroad and art museums), and giving it encouragement and reassuring it that it's a good brain (well, actually, I'm very bad at that, but fortunately General Disarray takes care of that responsibility). In return, it takes problems I can't seem to solve, chews on them, and spits out innovative ways of dealing with the issue. Our strife comes when I want it to solve a problem and it thinks that I have not taken good enough care of it...that's when the battles begin and let me tell you...the brain always wins.

Right now, I'm bribing my brain....just a few more days and we'll go to Milwaukee and you'll hear about all sorts of cool science that will be new. I also tried to bribe it with a tour of the Miller Brewery, but it spit that out pretty fast...however, I hear they have a nice little art museum..."Hmmm," the brain says....Quick, while it's distracted, maybe it'll let me rewrite that paper!


Isis the Scientist said...

I hate these brain vacation days. After being up all night writing assorted cleavage-related things, I am finding concentration to be more than challenging. My solution is to putz around the lab all day. Then I will hopefully feel productive and not sit and blog all day.

Except for right now.

River Tam said...

I ended up doing administrative minutia - which tends to worsen my mood, but since I'm usually in a bad mood anyway when my brain checks out it's probably the best time to do it!