Wednesday, September 27, 2006

After another semi-long day at work (I was hoping to leave early, but I ended up leaving just a little late), I got an email saying that I had forgotten to attach an important document to a previous email. This frustrated me, because it meant that I would have to go back to school, which would be at least a 45 minute round trip.

Then I realized that I could easily recreate the document in Excel on my home computer. This would only take 10 minutes.

Then I realized that I had brought my work computer home with me, so I could just attach the original document. I'm not thinking well, due to lack of sleep.

I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I just got done working a 16 hour day. At least the Twins won, although I could have done without Joe Nathan scaring us at the end.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Twins magic number: 0.

Congratulations to an extremely likable baseball team - I'm positively thrilled that we get to see more of these guys. Here's hoping for an AL Central title.

Twins magic number: 1.

The first day went well. No complaints.

I'm watching Studio 60 right now. It is nice to see Sorkin back on the air.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Okay, things are starting to cool down at work. This could change as early as tomorrow, but...I hope not.

The Twin's Magic Number for the Wild Card is 6. They are still 0.5 games behind Detroit for the division lead, and it looks like they will not make up any ground tonight (Detroit is winning in the 8th). Frankly, I am hoping that they end up with the best record in baseball - I'm aiming high. The Twins have 90 wins, and the Mets have 92.

I'm getting addicted to podcasts. Here is a list of my favorite podcasts right now:

  • PTI
  • The McLaughlin Group
  • Penn (Gillette) Radio Broadcast
  • Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me
  • Real Time with Bill Maher

Tomorrow: Prepare first lectures, hire CAs (potentially scrambling to find CAs to hire), and write up more lesson plans/homeworks/homework solutions.

Good luck with your mice.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I trained people today for five hours. It is now time to do more work.

It's probably not a good sign that the field goal kicker had more passes for touchdowns than the starting quarterback, but the Vikings won anyway.

The Twins are now only one game behind the Tigers for the division title, and they have a chance to increase their lead in the Wild Card to four games; Chicago is losing 5-4 to the Indians in the 7th.

Airport Security

Click here for an article about how ridiculous airline security is. Spoiler alert: it suggests that the people deciding airport security policy don't know much about chemistry, and clearly didn't bother talking to any chemists before making the policies.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I am getting my life organized. I have begun to implement David Allen's organization system. My friend Matt recommended it, and I think that I have heard that it is big in the Mac community. I did most of it today, and it feels good to get all of my to-dos out in front of me. Of course, I still have an impossible schedule for the next week. I feel good about it right now, but maybe I shouldn't.

I'm in the middle of Lost (or, "Rost" if you are on the WWB) season 2. We are a little more than halfway through, and it is good. I'm looking forward to watching season 3 in "real time," as well as watching Sorkin's new show.

I went to a FunFest today that featured free ice cream. They had Soy Delicious, and I had a lot. I did not, however, have as much as my friends (who had real ice cream).

Twins won, Tigers won, White Sox lost. I'll take the two-out-of-three.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Twins lost, but at least the Tigers are about to lose. Sadly, Liriano is out for the year.

I went to the library and checked out Getting Things Done by David Allen (but not the one who played Rosso). My friend is trying and liking it, and I think that I have enough to do to warrant some sort of system for getting things done. I'll let you know how it goes.

Quick rule: A man should never wear a pony tail unless he is a woman.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Yesterday was the best day for baseball in recent history. I went to the Red Sox game, where they won. More importantly, the Twins beat the Tigers (putting them only 2 games back; after tonight, they are only 1.5 games back), and the White Sox lost (putting them 1.5 games behind the Twins). The Twins won tonight, too, although Joe Nathan decided to make us sweat a little bit. At least he was kind enough to walk three batters in a row in the ninth inning when we already have a six run lead - there are worse times he could be off.

Allow me to echo Chad's feelings about the Twins: they are extremely likable. They rarely have an obvious jerk on the team, and they rarely get in trouble with the law. They are just a bunch of good kids who are trying to have fun on the diamond.

How much don't I need cable? In addition to getting Stewart and Colbert for $20/month, I can get Real Time with Bill Maher for free. There is an audio version of his show for free on iTunes. I love Bill Maher because he provides a venue for real political debate.

I'm tired, and I should be doing work. However, I am going to go home and sleep instead.

"You look at Lake View and Ninth Ward and you look at that devastion which hasn't been touched, and you see a picture of bombed-out Baghdad at least you know our tax money is at work."

Friday, September 08, 2006

I bought a subscription to The Daily Show from iTunes. It seems like a good idea - I pay $10, and I get a month's worth of Daily Shows (16 episodes) downloaded to my computer. It's cheaper than cable. Actually, I just did the same thing for The Colbert Report. Twenty dollars is still cheaper than cable.

I finished reading Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs for the nth time. It was good, but I noticed two errors this time. When refering to Super Bowl XXXVI, Klosterman mistakening writes about "Ricky Proel" (it should be "Proehl").

The second error is something that I probably should have noticed right away, except that I am not much of a gambler. Klosterman has a short essay saying that everything is life is 50-50: "What are the chances that your sister will die from ovarian cancer next summer? 50-50 (either she'll die from ovarian cancer or she won't). What are the chances that your sister will become America's most respected underwater welding specialist? 50-50. It will happen, or it won't. There are two possibilities, and both are plausible and unknown."

Now, clearly I understood that this is not a mathematically sound argument. "Percent" comes from "per cent," or "out of one hundred." This implies repetition, which Klosterman is ignoring. A slightly more sophisticated argument would be that everything in life has either a 100% chance of happening or a 0% chance of happening. This also ignores the meaning of percent, but you could at least convince the people who don't agree with the premise of Sliding Doors that an event was bound to occur under the same circumstances. Or maybe that's what Sliding Doors was all about; I'm not really sure.

No, I am not arguing with that on purpose. I had to write a paragraph on that because my brain has turned to mush over the last six years. Instead, I am intending to write about the sentence that directly follows the quote about the underwater welding above: "There are two possibilites, and both are plausible and unknown. The odds are 2:1."

I never caught that before - probably because I am not a good gambler - but 2:1 odds means that you have a 67% (approximately) chance of winning. You would have two chances of winning for every chance of losing. Klosterman should have said that the odds are 1:1.

I feel like a big man now.

"You must overtly love whatever music seems the most detached from your own personal experience."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The course I am in charge of this semester is rapidly turning from a fairly radical calculus course to a fairly standard calculus course (with a few radical elements thrown in). This is probably good, since it creates less work for me, will be more palatable for the students, and will make the higher-ups less upset.

Since we've been talking about Jeffrey Ross: I loved his stand up routine on Lounge Lizards back in the '90s. I tried to find the routine, but couldn't. Instead, here is some of his stuff from the Drew Carey roast:

"Drew Carey is to comedy..."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'm a little frustrated about work right now. It seems like every idea that I recommend is viewed as being half-baked. This is frustrating because either:

  • My boss (and some co-workers) are inflexible and do not make any attempt to understand the validity of my ideas, or
  • My ideas are half-baked.

At this point, I'm not sure which it is. I'm leaning toward the latter, although there is evidence that I am not the only one to whom this happens.

Actually, the biggest problem is probably that I simplify everything way too much. We are supposed to do things so that the students like the course better, and I just take it a tiny step too far. I might just be having a tough time balancing "making the students happy" and "not selling out."

On the other hand, I made some good points. I was asked how I was going to evaluate the success of a program, and I suggested a way to create a control group. I was met with a blank stare. Then I was told that my idea wouldn't work because of a point that was not at all central to my idea; this point was the name of my program, although this might mean that I am just not effectively communicating my ideas.

On the other other hand, I don't think that I normally have a problem with people understanding what I am trying to tell them (you all can let me know if this is not the case).

Okay, I'm done with that for now. Things are fine, and I ultimately got some really good feedback on my program; this ultimately makes me happy.

I am rambling now, but allow me to summarize my conclusions from these rants (thanks for reading):

  • My boss probably isn't very flexible.
  • I need to think about my ideas more before I speak up in the meeting.
  • I need to rethink my purpose at this school. My goal, up until now, has been (vaguely) to make it so that my students learn as much relevant information as possible. It should probably be: create a program that will allow novice teachers to be successful.

The last point is probably the most important. However, I am reluctant to accept that. I'll work on that.

"Ask yourself, what do you think about us?"