Friday, October 30, 2009

30 Rock is a quality show. Very nice.

My stupid Microsoft Outlook program thinks that "math" and "center" are not words. The former is a real problem for me. The good news: the GMail experiment seems to be working well, so I rarely have to use Outlook now.

My students gave me a hard time about not dressing up today for Halloween. One of the two main culprits was dressed as a wizard; the other was not dressed up at all. When I pointed this out as she was making fun of me, she claimed that she was dressed as a "muggle." When I asked if I could be a muggle, too, she said "no." I tried to deduce that I was then a wizard (If I am not a muggle, then I MUST be a wizard, right?), but she didn't buy that.

A third student bailed me out by suggesting that I was already dressed up as "a giant."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I am not a superstitious man. I am not. But even I am starting to believe that the Los Angeles Clippers are cursed.

Two good Daily Show clips:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
CNN Leaves It There
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Monday, October 26, 2009

We had a great baby shower this weekend. Thanks to all who attended---it was really fun.

Skye and I finished watching Buffy last night. This was my third time through the series; it was Skye's second time. Always enjoyable. It won't take long until I miss the characters.

Up next: probably a break, and then either The Wire or Battlestar Galactica. I would slightly prefer BSG, since I have only seen it once. Skye, I think, would prefer The Wire. I can't really argue with it, though, even though I watched it this summer.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I just finished setting up my GMail accounting to automatically get my work email. This is awesome for two reasons:

  1. My work email used Microsoft Outlook, and I think that I now no longer use any Microsoft products, and
  2. I now have an email account that I can read on my iPod Touch without having to zoom 200 times.

I am celebrating my Microsoft-free day.

PS---Other substitions: I use LaTeX instead of Word and PowerPoint (it is a bit tough to learn, but it is a better product once you do) and Google Docs or OpenOffice instead of Excel (I actually have nothing against Excel, but it is guilty by association).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A secret, likely-soon-to-be-made-public announcement from the Awesome household: Skye and I are likely to opt for a home birth. There are many reasons, which I might go into later, but it comes down to this:

  1. The medical literature has a lot of evidence that a home birth with a midwife is at least as safe as a hospital birth, except that your chances of a medical intervention (e.g. c-section, episiotomy (i.e. "slicing up my wife to make the birth canal bigger"), etc) go waaaaaaay down.
  2. Skye (and I) will be much more comfortable, and we hope that this will make the process easier.

Part of this experience means that Skype Skye will not receive any medication to ease the pain of childbirth, which must be administered by specialists. In a show of solidarity, I decided to forego anesthesia when I received my filling at the dentist today.

That's right, Dirk=Manly Man. Many of you, particularly those who know me well, may not have known this about me. But I am one tough hombre.

Actually, there are two things wrong here: first, there was no pain. Second, it isn't all that manly to go through an experience that isn't painful. So I guess there isn't much of a story here, other than we are offered more medication than we probably need. I hope that Skye has a similar experience in December.

Finally, for those of you who are concerned about my streak of "no cavities on my adult teeth," do not fret: my filling was to replace a sealant that had come loose---there was no cavity involved.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Another great article by Malcolm Gladwell. He suggests that football players are basically like the dogs people put in dog-fights: they are both loyal to fault, and both keep going until their bodies are destroyed. He gives some scary stories about brain damage in former football players.

This is the latest in a series of events in my life that have caused me to want to watch less sports. I do not want to support the destruction of young men by watching football.

That said, I did watch the end of the Vikings/Ravens game yesterday, although I put off watching it until I knew that the ending was going to be close (Baby steps, steps). What an awful way to win: they missed a very-makable field goal as time expired. Horrible.

I'll probably watch more of the Vikings this season, especially since they are winning. I don't feel great about it, though.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A nice article on McDonald's. They seem like such nice people over there.

Andrew, from Buffy, appeared in my dreams last night. Here is what he had to say:

When I'm NBC's Director of Thursday Night Programming, I'm going to create a series called Nathan Fifties! It stars Dabney Coleman and Betty White as jewel thieves on the lam.

Why can't the FBI catch them? Or won't they?

It was better in my dream, since "Nathan Fifties" sounded more like "nineteen fifties," which is apparently when the show was suppose to take place.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I had an important letter to mail for work. Basically, yesterday was the very last day to mail it, and I barely got it out. Many things could have happened differently to make my life easier, as I will detail below.

My original plan was to mail the letter last week, even though my school had vacation days on Thursday and Friday. I had planned to go to work on Thursday or Friday to take care of a couple of things. This, of course, did not happen. Instead, I ran errands all day on Thursday, and I graded at home all day on Friday. Had I come in to work, this would have been the first thing I did. I could have walked to the local post office, mailed the envelope, and be done with it.

Instead, I did not go into the office. I had a beautiful four-day weekend, and forgot about the letter until yesterday morning. Fine---I can simply go to the local post office to mail it. The problem is that yesterday was Columbus Day, causing the Post Office to be closed.

This letter needed to be mailed yesterday, and the Post Office was not an option. Rather, I had to use UPS or FedEx. I used Google Maps to locate the nearest drop for UPS, which is about six miles from my work.

I had the time, since I only taught one course yesterday. The problem is that I drive an electric car, and I cannot afford to drive around town without some planning. Since I had already driven 5.5 miles, this would give me a total of 23 miles for the day. This should not be a problem under optimal conditions, since my car can go roughly 30 miles. However, the temperature was close to freezing and it was snowing---these conditions decrease economy in every car, and my EV was no exception.

So I drove to the UPS drop, and got the letter in the mail. I was concerned about the EV on the drive home---it was much more sluggish than usual. Instead of driving straight back to work, I decided to stop midway at my house for an hour's worth of charging.

I charged, ate lunch, and returned to work in time for my class. Instead of parking in my usual spot, I parked farther away so that I could finish charging while at work. I went to teach, finished up some paperwork, and then prepared to leave for the day.

On the walk to my car's unusual parking place, I noticed a FedEx drop that probably 200 yards from my office.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh no...

I found out yesterday that I am becoming someone I never wanted to be. Specifically, I wrote a letter to the editor.

I believe that I wrote about this article before, but there is an infuriating article by Duncan Greenberg on billionaires.

The letter I wrote is a little, well, snarky. I hate to be the person who hides behind the anonymity of email. On the other hand, I decided to be snarky because I think that Mr. Greenberg is very slightly dangerous. I feel justified.

Here it is:

Dear Editors,

I just read Duncan Greenberg's article "A Recipe of Riches" online at I have two comments:

First, it seems like Mr. Greenberg should provide a citation when he states that mathematical prowess is hereditary. If it is true, then I would like to read the study that concludes this. If false, Mr. Greenberg is perpetuating a stereotype that some people "just aren't good at mathematics," and is helping young people to give up in mathematics classes by giving them genes to scapegoat.

Second, even if mathematical prowess is hereditary, it appears that Mr. Greenberg did not inherit this gene. "Want to become a tech titan or hedge fund tycoon? Up your chances by dropping out of college..." Mr. Greenberg goes on to state that 14% of billionaires dropped out of college. This means that 86% of billionaires--over six times as many that dropped out--finished college. Really? You can up your chances of being a billionaire by doing something that almost 9 in 10 billionaires specifically chose NOT to do?

I sincerely hope that no children read your magazine. Duncan Greenberg just gave them false excuses to give up in math class and--worse yet--drop out of school.

Dirk Awesome

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I am in love with the Twins. It is always better when they are in the playoffs.

Monday, October 05, 2009


I ran the marathon yesterday. It went well, except that I did not meet my goal (I knew I wasn't going to do this at least a month ago); I did meet my secondary goal, though. It was a good run, though, and fun. Thank you to the people who came to watch.

Here is what I have learned: I need to train with more intensity. It isn't enough to just put the miles in, but I need to run them hard. This, combined with the fact that I haven't been running much for the past couple of years, explains why I didn't meet my goal.

Skye and I finished the most depressing Buffy DVD in the universe: season 6, disc 5. There is not a happy episode on the DVD.