Those who can’t do… teach!

Well, that’s not true. I can do math (we hope).

cwru schedule screenshot

Late last year, I was asked to teach the university’s discrete mathematics course!

I’m excited. I get a slew of students, a teaching assistant, and pay (mm. more ramen). I picked up a highly recommended book on teaching that I’ve been tearing through.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the the directions this blog should take (considering, well, that I never update it. Part of it will be a teaching blog. There are going to be posts on ideas I’d like to use in my teaching, and how well they worked. I’ve also got some other subjects I’d like to add about. I’m also pondering whether or not I should be using my livejournal for more personal news.

At the very least, you get to expect my rantings and ramblings on teaching (and how good or bad I am at it).


Where I’ve Been, and Where I’m Going

So, what have I been doing? And, further more, what will I be doing? Initially, this was going to be in a Seussian format, but I felt that was a little ambitious.

Where I’m Going

It’s the new year (and, truthfully, it’s actually well into the new year), and, like everyone and there dog (and cat), I have new years resolutions. What, you ask, are my new years resolutions?

  1. anal-retentive dental care. I’ve, admittedly, been a bit lax in the area of flossing and listerining (ok, that’s not a word. But, it should be — especially the citrus listerine, which is awesome). But, no more! Since before the new year, I’ve been brushing/flossing/listerining twice a day, every day! And, regular dentists visits! I’ve had the first one in years, and I’ll have one in six months! Or else!
  2. Like Stanek, I want to get out of bed on a regular (early) basis, and get to campus at a regular time. This has, so far, been a failing proposition. I did well this morning, but yesterday? Yeah… no. Hopefully this will improve now that classes have started up, and I have places to be (things to do, as well).
  3. Get Things Done. I should get something done every day, whether it’s read a paper, work on my dissertation proposal, fix something for work. Something. This, a la Eldan shouldn’t be a chore.
  4. Write some cool software. This definitely isn’t a chore. The problem is, I have a million-and-one ideas, and I rarely follow through on them. Well, this is my resolution to follow through on some of them. I’ve been playing with python and web frameworks and java, and it’s really enjoyable. I should do more of it. Therefore… I will.
  5. Exercise More. ’nuff said.
  6. Update my blog more. I should update my blog at least weekly. Which, hey.. stop laughing! I know I say this every year. This year’s different! Honest! No, really! Hmph.

Where I’ve Been

So, that’s where I’m going. I’m sure you want to know where I’m going. Last semester ended pretty successfully. I feel like I didn’t get quite as much work done as I wanted to, but it ended, and it was good. I spent Christmas and New Years at home (photos are coming!), and that was nice and relaxing. I finished My Name is Red, and I’ve started Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime: From the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism .

I’ve slowly been getting my life organized. I’ve got todo lists that things get crossed off of, I’ve got a calendar that reminds me of stuff, I’ve got source code repositories that store substantial parts of my life. All in all, I think I’m going in roughly the right direction. It could be better, but I suppose I’ve got to start somewhere.


Katrina Timeline

Katrina Timeline.

Think Progress has an excellent Katrina timeline, with citations.

It’s been a strange few weeks. The beginning of fall is, seemingly, a time for tragedy. The only difference this year is that the tragedy isn’t personal in nature. I alternate between being grateful, and feeling a little guilty for it.


26 and counting

It’s been a busy week.

So far, I’ve gotten official notification that I’ve passed the qualifier (thanks for the comments!) and I’ve turned 26. That may not seem like a lot, but it sure feels like it.

I spent so much time studying for the qualifier, that it feels weird to not be pushing towards something. I mean, obviously, I have to do research, and maintain a lab, and any number of things.

So, in a way, I feel a bit lost. It’s almost like the sheer magnitude of what’s left is too much to comprehend. Either that, or I’m just interminably lazy.



I passed! I passed! I passed! I passed!


Hit with a Stick!

Stanek hit me with the stick

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

If I was a book, and I wanted to not get burned to a crisp, I’d probably be Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

God. Really, it’s too many to count. If I were to list a few, I’d say Colene from the Mode series by Piers Anthony, Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings, and Jane from Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card.

The last book you bought:

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. Becky introduced me to Sarah Vowell, and now I’m hopelessly addicted. Sometimes, I crave history. But, sometimes, I need it with a big dose of humor.

The last book you read:

Mistress of the Empire by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts.

I needed something light to read when I got tired of studying, so I alternated between the Empire saga and The Myth Series by Robert Asprin. They’re both pretty light fantasy (though, the Myth series gets kind-of preachy near the end).

What are you currently reading?

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace by Lawrence Lessig. I read one of his other books, The Future of Ideas a few months ago, and really liked it. Both books are about the growth of the internet and its effects on law and copyright.

Getting Things Done by David Allen. I’ve been looking for ways to be more productive. While, I don’t expect GTD to be some sort of silver bullet, I’m hoping that it will help me get a proper workflow going, and get rid of all those stacks of junk mail lying around my place.

Five Books to Take to a Desert Island:

  1. I’d take a history book. I started reading A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn a while ago, but it was too depressing to finish. I’d like a better grasp of world history, though, and can’t think of another book (or books).
  2. The Bible. I haven’t read it, and if I was on a desert isle, I think I’d get it finished.
  3. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. I can’t quite explain the impact this book had on me: Martel’s imagery if India is powerful and provoking
  4. Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams. Adams has a funny way of making you love what he’s making you laugh at. In Last Chance to See, he does it with the planet Earth.
  5. the Norton Anthology of American Literature. Because, well, it’d give me a chance to catch up on a lot of great American Literature I’m always wanting to read.

Pick three people to pass the stick on to:

  1. Simmoril.
  2. Dawn.
  3. Duncan. Well, maybe when he gets back from Japan.


Unbeknownst to my loyal readers, I’ve recently been dividing my life into two epochs: B.Q. and A.Q.

I’ve passed through the time Before the Qualifier. I did a lot of studying, a lot of worrying, and lot of complaining. I may have recited the litany against fear, but only because I raced through the first 3 Dune books in my off minutes.

Now, I’m in the time After the Qualifier (hence, A.Q. funny, huh.). Looking back, I’m certain I did better than I did last year. I’m not willing to say, “I passed!” since that would just be jinxing myself. Now that it’s over, I’ve got a list of books the size of my head, a project or 3 wandering around my head, and a list of topics that bear writing about (even if they never see the light of day).

I’ve contacted Hollywood in case they wish to do a few major motion pictures based on my adventures. I’ve determined that BQ: The Department Kicks Ass and AQ: The Grad Student Strikes Back should both be directed by John Woo and Mel Brooks. Ideally, it would be produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. They have yet to return my calls, however.

While I’m waiting for John,Mel, and Jerry to call me back, I can put the books away (the text books), and work on my thesis (as soon as I get somewhere, which is slow going). I’ve also got a stick to work on, some organizing to do, and a stack of (non-text… well. they’ve got text. but, they’re not text books) books to read.


what am I doing after I finish the Qualifier?

Some people might go to Disney world. Some people might get roaring drunk.

Some people aren’t me! (OK, well, I’m certainly the 2nd some people, but I’m other things to!)

What am I doing? I’m gonna donate blood!

After a less than pleasing experience with the red cross, I had resigned myself to never donating blood again.

Luckily, the irrepressible Dawnie (why “irrepressible?” I have no idea. I always thought it was a nice thing to say about someone and I was casting around for nice adjectives), I now know that I can give blood again! I’ve certainly spent less than 5 years in Europe over what’s essentially the course of my whole life.

Granted, I’ll drink, too. Just, you know, not in conjunction with the giving of blood!

Disney World? Well, maybe. But, having grown up 2 hours away from it loses it’s appeal.

Right. And now, back to your regularly scheduled program (which, in this case, is 0-1 integer programming).


good weekend, long week

I had an excellent weekend, but now I’ve a long week ahead of me. My qualifiers are in exactly 1 week.

Still, I had an excellent time at a wedding in Philadelphia. One of my oldest friends, Bryan, got married.

So, while I’d like to post many, many photos and give y’all a nice long entry, I’ll leave with a few pictures.

The bride and groom.

Crystal and I processing down the aisle.

Angela and I looking fabulous.

Bryan and I.


mostly sleepy

Quite often, I catch myself sitting and thinking, “I’m tired.”

This isn’t good, as I know I haven’t been working as hard as I should be. I know what kind of material I have to cover and by when.

In other areas, I think I’m actually doing pretty well. My research (such as it is) is still kind-of amorphous, but progressing. I’m on the verge (I hope) of having results.

My sysadmin job is also ambling along. At least, nothing’s horribly broken, and the users seem mostly happy.

I think that I never like spring. I mean, I do. It’s getting sunny out, and I’m opening the windows, and my gas bill will go down, and any number of things. Of course, it also means that people are leaving (or have left), and any number of projects need to come to completion.

I find myself teeming with ideas: for projects, stories, things-to-do, philosophies-of-life (just to, you know, name a few). I keep having to stop and say, “You don’t have time for that now.”

Soon, I will.