Dear, Dear Students and Other Musings

Due to some poor note taking and short term memory loss, I ended up with twelve thesis students this semester. The average is two, the usual maximum is four. How could I do this to myself? Well, it is a systems problem. They must turn in their title, which is engraved in stone, one year ahead of time. As they meandered into my office at various times, I said yes, but not really making notes of the semester they were planning on the actual work.

I arranged my other course workload accordingly, when the reality hit me. All of the essays I had assigned were pushed back on each syllabus, due after April 1st. The theses would all be due March, so it would give me time to focus on the essays without stress.

The university had other ideas. They too extended the deadline for thesis submission to April 15th for the first time in my seven year tenure. Why? Do they need a valid reason? Surely not! Two of the twelve were great achievers and had their thesis completed to my level of perfection by January. That left ten to chase. Each student I advise gets a calendar of due dates. They have to submit five pages a week and meet with me once every two weeks. Rules are made to be broken and they did.

I still have four Masters thesis students struggling to make the deadline. Two others are BA students and their deadline is May 1st, so the suffering still had time to fester.

Thursday, I had a computer technician here for issues beyond my scope of knowledge. I felt justified in calling him in when it took him five hours to resolve some issues and he will return the first of the week for others. Handing over a wad of cash was satisfying in the fact that these were not simple band-aids I could have solved with some critical thought and Google.

This put me yet farther behind in a writing assignment that has been waiting for my attention. Hating procrastination, this has been eating at me knowing it needs my attention. Even blogging has taken a backseat. Yesterday, putting other students at an arms length, I started the assignment, but first had to review a list of 222 restaurants to be certain they still existed. With the restaurant culture being what it is here, the life span of a restaurant is usually death within the first year. Often, another restaurant will move into the same space, spend a fortune remodeling, even keep the same phone number, only to repeat the process nine months to a year later. There seems to be no learning from history and demographics…they have no clue what they are. One area had four Indian restaurants within two blocks. Three are now history. So from the list, an overwhelming number of them have gone by the wayside.

The Hungarian Restaurant Association predicts that with the economic crisis, 30% of all restaurants in the country will close up shop within 2009. That is not to say that some optimistic, dare I say ‘fool’ will believe he or she can beat the odds and succeed. If nothing, it does bring continual variety to the food culture, but it is a horror when writing for travel publications.

My first Frommer’s book, three restaurants went out of business after the manuscript was submitted, but after it went to press and before it came out in stores. The total sum cost of reviewing those restaurants was over $100. of wasted money.