Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Red Sox Parade

Okay, here is the report of the Red Sox victory parade. It was a parade of DUKWs carrying Red Sox players and employers. They did not take advantage of their amphibious capabilities, although I am told that they did in the 2004 victory parade.

As the DUKWs drove by, people would chant, cheer, wave, and climb trees. Most players stood out and smiled at the crowd, others waved, Manny had a microphone that wasn't quite powerful enough, and David Ortiz seemed to have disappeared (he was riding in the same DUKW as Manny). And then there is poor, poor Jonathan Papelbon...such a wallflower. He was put on a flatbed truck with the Dropkick Murphys, and had nothing to do except to pretend to play electric guitar with a broom and dance jigs.

One weird facet of the parade was that many of the players had video cameras. This itself was not weird, since I could imagine wanting to record tens of thousands of people cheering and congratulating you. The surreal part was that this results in two parties who are videotaping each other, since many people in the crowd also had video cameras. This must mean something.

It was fun, and I was glad that I went. However, you didn't miss much if you didn't go.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New England Sports

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox. I am really excited to be back in a town with a World Series champion again. This hasn't happened since 1991.

Tsjaz (among others) points out that the Red Sox achieved this largely by outspending everyone. And he is completely correct. I don't like this in principle, but I also like to root for the home team. This is what sports are largely good for - building community...and then having your community despise other communities. But the important thing is that you are all despising together.

So I am not going to apologize for rooting for the Red Sox, although I don't think that the anti-Red Sox comments were directed toward me. Rather, I agree with Tsjaz (and others) that there shouldn't be Red Sox fans throughout the country all of the sudden. Why were there so many Red Sox fans in Denver this week? Certainly, some rabid fans traveled across the country to see them play, and some of the people grew up in New England. However, a large portion of them were likely frontrunners. This is not acceptable. It was not acceptable when people decided they liked the Yankees because they were winning, it was not acceptable when people decided that they like the Cowboys because they were winning, and it was not acceptable for the Red Sox.

Here is a case where I may be guilty of that (although I don't think that I am): I grew up a Boston Celtics fan. This was in the '80s, when they were really good. But here are five good reasons to give me a pass on the "frontrunner" label:

  1. I was young and stupid at the time.
  2. They were literally the first pro sports team I saw on television after I started caring about basketball. They were playing the Bucks.
  3. I probably picked them because I like the color green (this may be stupid for other reasons, but it doesn't make me a frontrunnner).
  4. The Celtics have not won a championship since I started following them.
  5. I didn't have a home team to root for at the time.

I am also enjoying the Patriots, which makes me more of a candidate for being a frontrunner than for the Red Sox. This is because I did not like the Patriots before I moved to New England, but I liked the Red Sox (I pretty much like all Boston things, including bands: Throwing Muses, The Pixies, The Lemonheads, Buffalo Tom, Juliana Hatfield, etc). However, I am again pulling the "I live here" card, which I am okay with.

Just to be clear, my primary allegiances are still with my original hometown teams: the Twins, the Vikings, and the Timberwolves (it took me a long time to admit this last one, since I tried to hold on to my Celtic alligiance for as long as I could).

So I had an extremely relaxing weekend with Skye watching the Red Sox, the Patriots, and convincing myself that I am not a bandwagon-jumper.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Silence Broken

It has been awfully quiet in my area of the weblogosphere - not only me, but the other weblogs I frequent. I blame myself.

So much to say:

First, Skye and I successfully did another "Scrapheap Showdown" for the high schoolers. We had students build windmills out of junk. It was fun, and a lot of work. One guy worked more on it than I did, but there was still plenty for me to do.

Second, the Red Sox are doing well. The last time I was in a city which hosted the World Series was 1991. It is nice to be back. You all should root for the Red Sox just so that I can enjoy the atmosphere.

The Vikings still aren't very good, although it looks like Adrian Peterson is better than expected. This means that he might be one of the ten best players in the NFL by the end of the year. Seriously.

The Wolves traded away Ricky Davis and Mark Blount, thereby decreasing the laziness/craziness factor on the team by a factor of 60.

I am going to do research now.

Friday, October 19, 2007

More Potpourri

I tried to play around with how the files on my computer are organized. This is not generally a good idea, and I had to reload both my email and my iTunes. I am almost done importing the album art into iTunes, and then I just need to make sure that I re-subscribe to my favorite podcasts. I think that I have them all now (except for This Week! Let me do that for a second..)

Congratulations to the Red Sox, who clinched "not losing in five games" last night.

I started watching The Wire last night. I saw three episodes, and I like it. I do not yet think that it is the greatest show ever, but I expect that this might take a little time.

I am really enjoying teaching this semester. It is nice to teach something that is close to my research, and my calculus kids are flat out awesome.

In other news, I applied for five jobs this week. I might apply for one more, which would be for me to work in Congress. I need to talk that one over, though. Aside from that, there are no jobs that are posted currently that I am both interested in and haven't applied for.

We have our "junkyard wars" fundraiser this weekend. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hodge Podge

Okay, since I took so long to post, I get to talk about whatever I want for a little bit. I am removing the self-imposed "one topic per post" rule for today.

First: Bill O'Reilly. He recently ate dinner at a black restaurant in Harlem, and he was surprised to see the black diners acting surprisingly civilized. Not surprisingly, he is getting slaughtered by the left for making an ignorant statement. And it was ignorant. However, do we really want to punish him for this? He grew, he learned something. He then shared it with exactly the demographic that is most likely to think that black people are uncivilized: Fox News viewers. Wasn't he doing the world a service by telling those viewers that they are wrong? Isn't that the first step toward common sense? So, please, lay off Bill. We want to encourage people to make these realizations, not to demonize them for it.

I wish that I were a Colorado Rockies fan right now. They have a great story, winning 18 of the last 19 games, including a 13 inning do-or-die game to make the playoffs. This must be fun for the fans. I hope that they make it to the World Series and get crushed by the Red Sox.

Congratulations to Al Gore for the Nobel Peace Prize. That will look good next to his Oscar on the mantle. Now, do you think that he will run for president? I don't, although I think that he would have an awful lot of momentum if he started soon.

I'm smack in the middle of applying for jobs. I am a little behind of where I wanted to be, but not by much. I should be done by the middle of next week, and then I can start doing research.

"The Con" by Tegan and Sara was the song of the week.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Dirk is Awesome

Here is one thing that many of you don't appreciate enough: just how awesome I am. I am going to dedicate most of this post to discussing my awesomeness, sticking to my plan to try to focus on one topic per post.

Did you know that I have already created all of the paperwork for the entire semester? I have TeXed up all of my lesson plans, worksheets, homework, homework solutions, and text notes for the "textbook." I have even made copies of the worksheets for all of the people teaching under me...for the entire semester.

This frees me up for greater, later awesomity. This could be in the form of research, job applications, or just having more awesome free time.

Teaching is also going well. I have met individually with all of my students, and I am now about to meet with all of the other 60 students in my main course. In my other course, there was a woman who didn't seem to like the course much at first. But she invited me to an event, I showed up, and now you can tell that she likes the course. She used to sit in the very back row, and she now sits in the third row.

At that same event, I saw a student that I knew from two years ago. This student was not in my class, but merely in another class like it. I immediately called him by name and knocked his socks off with my awesomerity. He directly commented on it.

Today I played basketball. One team was winning every game, but then were upset by a team that heavily relied on a Kevin McHale clone. We got on the court next, and I held McHale to two points...and I think that he had to travel to get them. How did I do it, you ask? I never let him get the ball. I played good, denying post defense. The first time they tried to enter the ball to him in the post, I was able to get around and knock it out of bounds. They didn't try again until the end of the game.

While we are on the topic, I was a ridiculously good post defender in high school. No one ever appreciated it enough except for Mike Binder. I held Javier Collins to four points, and he outweighed me by literally 100 pounds. I was a "shut down" defender.

In terms of work, one of my new colleagues has already told me that I am her role model, and that two of the senior faculty have pointed me out as THE example of how to teach well and get research done at the same time.

I have already been called "inspiring" by one of my students.

I would say that I "hope" that I have convinced you that "awesome" is the one word that you should use to describe me, but I won't. This is because I know that you are already convinced. Because I am awesome.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Double Booked

I inadvertently scheduled a meeting for the same time that I was giving a test tonight. I canceled the meeting.

My work life would be really pretty good if I hadn't screwed up and forgotten to schedule a speaker at my seminar tomorrow. This means that I am giving a talk, so I will be preparing it after the test (and grading).

At some point soon, I hope to stop writing about work. In fact I am going to try to focus on one topic per day. Skye sent me a link to a weblog on Chuck Klosterman, and it seemed to work well because it is focused. topic per day. I'm going to try to write as I lecture.