Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Spring" "Break" Update

Well, spring break has basically come and gone and I haven't posted here at all. So here's a very quick day-by-day summary.
  1. Saturday 15 March. It snowed a few inches. Not very spring-like. But it was actually a very warm snow. It didn't stick on the roads at all. Did some things around the house. Got some good beer in Southwest harbor. Watched a hockey game.
  2. Sunday 16 March. Worked like a maniac trying to finish up lots of odds and ends. Read many COA applications.
  3. Monday 17 March. St. Patricks Day. Admission committee meeting basically all day. Meeting went very well. Applications are up this year, which puts us in a position to be more selective. Worked late on campus after the meeting dealing with email and stuff that I should have dealt with a long time ago. So Sunday and Monday were two big days of work.
  4. Tuesday 18 March. Drove to Portland, flew to Sacramento. Had a good itinerary, but flight to Chicago was delayed. Got rerouted via Washington DC and Las Vegas. Arrived in Sacramento 1:35am. Arrived in Davis around 2:30am. Flight to Las Vegas was weird. Person in the seat in front of me was very ill and threw up a bunch. She only spoke Urdu, so nobody knew how to help her.
  5. Wednesday 19 March. In Davis. Gave seminar at Computational Mechanics Group meeting at UCD. Talk went pretty well, I think. Some very good and interesting questions and comments from the audience. Pleasant day in Davis. Warm. Green grass. Flowers on trees.
  6. Thursday 20 March. In Davis. Did lots of work on a paper draft. Ate some good food. Learned that long-time Davis coffeeshop, affectionately known in my circles as "Scuzzy Roma," has closed and been replaced by a Peets Coffee. Have mixed feelings about this.
  7. Friday 21 March. Did more work on paper in Davis. Almost ready to submit. Took train to San Jose. Met by brother, stayed at his house.
  8. Saturday 22 March. Spent day with Mom, Brother, Sister-in-Law, 7-month-old nephew. Had nice brunch. Walked around Stanford campus some. Their campus creeps me out, but it was still lovely. Beautiful weather. Nephew spent several hours late at night/early the next morning imitating an agitated howler monkey.
  9. Sunday 23 March. Drove to Berkeley. Spent time with Mom. Had yummy thai food and later yummy cold noodles on Telegraph Avenue. Went to several bookstores. Had excellent time. Drove back to Menlo Park. Had good dinner with Brother and Sister-in-Law at kurdish/turkish restaurant.
  10. Monday 24 March. Spent time with Brother. Drove to coast. Some nice fog. Had excellent burrito. Hiked some. Explored San Jose. Went to fun Asian grocery store. Had good lunch at Vietnamese place. Took overnight flight back to Portland.
  11. Tuesday 25 March. Arrived around 10am in Portland. Did some shopping. Very tired, since I didn't sleep well on the flights. Drove back home. Was tired and unproductive the rest of the day. Was nice to be home, though.
  12. Wednesday 26 March. Worked a bunch. Started Calculus grading. Deal with junk in my office. Cooked a big batch of enchiladas. Good, but not great.
  13. Thursday 27 March. Worked. Dealt with more junk and odds and ends. Went for a run outside. Pathetic and slow. But good to be outdoors. Temperature around 45 degrees. Felt warmer.
  14. Friday 28 March. Snowed around three inches. Roads not bad. Did some work on campus. Did some calculus grading. Cooked some Kale and Collard greens. Doreen made yummy sweet potatoes and a good tofu and mushroom dish. Watched several X-files episodes with Doreen.
  15. Saturday 29 March. Snowed a little bit. Kinda cold. Did some calculus grading. Cleaned up equipment in zoology lab left over from winter term's chaos class. Listened to Armin van Buuren's ASOT.
  16. Sunday 30 March. Went for a nice hike. Snowy and slippery. Beautiful day. Finished calculus grading! Made some pretty good curry noodles.
So that's my spring break. It was really only half a break, as I did a lot of work. But looking back, it has indeed felt like a break. It was great to see family in California and enjoy some warm-ish weather and good food. And the last few days have been fairly relaxing as well. Perhaps too relaxing, as I've got a lot of things to do this upcoming week. I'm super psyched for my class spring term. I wish I was as psyched for all the evaluations that I need to write the next week.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Well, I didn't get done most of what I had planned for today. But I did deal with 241 email messages, which might be a record for me. It's satisfying, in a pathetic sort of way.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The long march toward spring

In the past week the light has gotten brighter. The sun is higher in the sky, and the world looks different. There was tremendous rain this weekend and much minor flooding. The net result is quite a bit of erosion and much less snow. That snow which remains, however, is crusty and dirty. In some places the grass is showing some green, although it may just be my imagination.

It will be six weeks, at least, until it starts to be anything like spring. But we're going through the necessary steps: cold, nasty rainstorms; goopy mud, re-frozen mud, and more goopy mud. We'll probably get a few more snowstorms and a bunch of sleet and slush. For me March and April are by far the toughest weather months. But I remind myself that there's no other way to get to May and June.

We're now in our 10th and final week of classes. Students look paler and more tired than usual. Faculty, staff, and students are all fatigued. I think everyone is looking forward to the "spring" break.

Tomorrow I'm going to try and make a bunch of edits and update references on a paper I've been writing for a half decade. But right now I'm going to take my Maudite and watch The Daily Show and then get some sleep.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The worst sentence ever?

I've recently been looking at various physical science faculty job advertisements, because I'm trying to make the case the College of the Atlantic should considering hiring a geolgist of some sort. In an ad for a nanoscience technology position, I read the following:
We're looking for dynamic team players, individuals who appreciate our respect for innovation in the classroom...
Amazing. They're not looking for an innovative teacher. They're not even looking for someone who respects other people's innovative teaching. Nope, they're looking for someone who appreciates other people's respect for other people's innovative teaching. Brilliant.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Saturday Snow

As predicted, we got a lot of snow followed by some rain. It's hard to tell, but I'd guess we got around eight inches of snow before things turned over to rain. There is now much slush, ice, and snow. It was beautiful for a while. But once the snow turned to rain, most of the snow fell off the trees and the magical-winter-wonderland aura was lost.

Doreen and I went to see a student production of the Vagina Monologues tonight at College of the Atlantic. It was very impressive. The monologues are very powerful, and the acting was incredible. There are some very talented students at COA. It was also clear that the cast had a very good time working together; the sense of camaraderie was palpable. All in all, it was quite inspiring.

In other (boring) news: I made some yummy tofu tonight for dinner, I did a lot of dishes, I did a fair amount of grading, and I shoveled some snow. Time to watch X-files and then listen to Armin van Buuren's A State of Trance.