Friday, September 01, 2006

Hot and Not

Andre Agassi: Regardless of whether or not you've never actually seen him play or care to, that was a great match.
US Basketball Team: Further evidence that NBA players are just overpaid egomaniacal ball hogs who can't play as a team or the natural result of trying to throw together a team in too short a time? I vote both.

Rolloercoaster Me

Whew. The guest lectures went well, and the guest lecturer seemed to be well received by the students - he's one of our more popular folk over here.

It's very interesting to see the different vibe that comes out when someone else takes over in an environment that I've created with the students. I told him that they're usually active and questioning and curious because they are when I'm lecturing, but that's probably just because they're used to me.

That makes me feel really good, because either I'm misreading them completely, or they're actually engaged in my class. Who knew?

I'm sure this will help give away the secret location of my batcaves, but I'm still teaching summer session. I don't even start at the new cave for a few weeks. I'll end up with about a week to get everything moved there, grade all the finals and final papers, figure out how I'm going to live there and attend about 5 different orientations (free food there at least). All this in the week or so before classes start. Oh, yeah, and I'll be TAing, too.

By the way, I'm starting a PhD program. How crazy is that? I just talked to a friend who ran off to DC to get a real job, and she reminded me how absolutely insane this is. I mean, the MA was kind of mildly strange, but within the realm of the comprehensible. I'm going to try to get a PhD. Nobody does that. Nobody sane, at least. Crazy.

So, summing up. I'm happy about the good day, but increasingly panicked about the upcoming weeks (and years). So that's happy plus nervous. I think that calls for gastronomic therapy. Hmmm... maybe tacos? Ice cream? Both?

Nano-uk, Ah No, No...

For some reason my Nano doesn't want to turn off anymore. I dutifully held the play button like I used to, but alas, no love. I did a reset and nothing changed. I had taken to just leaving it plugged in except for my runs and commute. This morning, I finally did what I should have at the beginning.

Gooooooogle to the rescue!

A quick check of google led me to a Cnet forum where some other folks had the same trouble. The workaround is to pres the menu button to the top of the menu tree and then (and only then) will you be able to turn the Nano off like normal.

I tried it and it worked like a charm. Very strange that I can't turn the thing off normally like I used to, but I'm happy that I can actually turn it off at all.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What Will I Do With The Free Time?

Bonus Double Post!

A professor of utmost excellence offered to guest lecture a couple of times on things in which he is a specialist. And he came through! No lecture to plan tomorrow! Woot! Should I get sloshed?

Pheer My Leet OS


There was a brief window of opportunity (window! har har! I kill me) to download a beta test of the new Vista OS, so, since I was screening documentaries and films last night and would have plenty of time, I figured I'd give it a shot.

First impressions are fairly good. The install was relatively painless. The only big issue was that it didn't like the Norton Utilities I had and asked to uninstall them, which took a long time. Other than that, I was able to keep all of my programs installed and so far, they've all worked just peachy. In fact, Firefox seems much more peppy than it ever did under XP. I'm not sure what that's all about, but I welcome it.

I'm also beta testing the new Office suite, and all of those programs work much faster under Vista. All in all, things move along quite quickly, and this is on a laptop, not a big desktop brimming with high-tech digital goodness.

I think what I like most so far is the customization of Windows Explorer. You can change a lot there - how you see files, sorting and how you navigate folders and such. Very nice. The graphics do look nice too, although the flipdy-dip window thingie that I screenshot isn't particularly needed, even if it is kinda cute. The Gadget/Widget things are completely unnecessary too, but again, kinda cute.

Negatives - I did have one lockup after class. I closed the laptop after the slideshow, and maybe because I didn't unplug the projector first it wasn't happy. I've plugged and unplugged a scad of peripherals other than that, though, and no worries yet.

I let you know if it blows up or anything

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hot Topics

This post is for me, so I'm sorry if it doesn't make sense because I've edited out too many identifiers.

I had a mild epiphany as I was drifting off to sleep last night (actually I fell asleep almost immediately after getting home. Right in the middle of MNF, too. So, what I mean is that when I woke up again and spent a dreary few hours trying to reorient myself through sleep-gucked contact lenses, I eventually took those blasted things out and tried to get some work done. Eventually at about 2 or 3 in the morning I gave up and went back to sleep - heap o' healthy, I'm sure, but I digress).

I specifically chose my field to a a bit vague. I straddle two field that generally don't play well with each other, but they're intimately connected. I like dealing with both and think that they are mutually supporting. The classes I'm teaching now are supposed to be Introduction to Gruub Studies (Topic A), which is, incidentally, the name of the department to which I belong, both here and at the soon-to-be-named School Of The Fall.

The trick is, that in teaching this class I've come to the conclusion that I can't teach Topic A, without going deep into Topic B. Topic B is very poorly supported right now at this university, so the vast majority of students have no background whatsoever in it - we couldn't even have it as a prereq (which it should be). I've had a great deal of fun introducing Topic B, but it has taken time away from Topic A.

I've TAed for professors teaching this class a few times, and they've always glossed over Topic B, and the students hurt for it. As a TA, I was always having to shore up the shaky Topic B information before the students could get a grasp of Topic A, and frankly, I'm not sure they were able to really get the Topic A information because they didn't understand Topic B.

The reason this is all so important to me is that this really helps me define myself. I've always thought that Topics A and B were of absolute equal value. I understand now that, to me at least, B must come before A, even if they are both equally important. Maybe this seems obvious to the students, but it's a bit of a flashing lightbulb over my head that clears some things up for me, even if this post is completely unintelligible to anyone else.


I got a very nice letter from the admissions department congratulating me for choosing the university and welcoming me to the graduate department for the fall. It included a pamphlet about getting to know the area.

Only thing is - it was from one of the universities that I declined.

Do they still think I'm going there? Is my name taking up a slot that some waitlisted hopeful wanted? ack ack ack. I shall talk to them but, dang, I mean haven't most fall semesters already started?