Sunday, December 27, 2009

Movie Out

Crab Mama and I went out to a movie this afternoon for the first time in months.  Very nice.  We were sadly one of the last people to arrive (as usual), and had to sit in the second row.  Luckily the movie didn't have any explosions or action, so it was fine.  With the previews I thought I was going to hurl.  Ok, how old am I?

We then went home got pizza for us and the in-laws.  It was very nice to not have to cook.  I love cooking (even though I basically suck at it), but after a couple of days in the kitchen, it becomes a drain.

Two of the three in-laws (plus two of the four dogs!) leave tomorrow.  Fantastic!  Maybe I can start my vacation!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Post

Crab Mama says that no one with a real life would post today.  So, I am posting, just to prove that I have no life.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Wow, I have only posted twice this month.  That is just sad.  Here are some updates, which I will pretend are mini-blog-posts:

1. Fail!

For the first time ever, four students have failed my class.  There was a report that was worth 16% of their course grade, which they didn't bother turning in.  It wasn't that hard of an assignment, and I graded it with a very lenient bend (the lowest score, without taking off for turning it in late, was 85%).  So, if they had written five pages of random words, they would have done better.  One of the students contacted me and told me that their report was on their USB stick, which they can no longer find.  Why is it not on their computer?  Well, they didn't want their hard drive to crash, which would wipe it out.  It was the best excuse ever!  One a more positive note, more students got an A+ than failed.  I must be doing something right.  I love teaching, but I hate assigning grades.

2. AGU: Done!

The American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco was just absolutely insane this year.  First, I didn't have either of my two talks even started before I left on Sunday.  Second, I felt like I was shot out of a cannon - I was busy from the moment I woke up until the moment I closed my eyes every day.  As an example, on Sunday, I got up at 5:45 EST, to catch my 9:00 flight. When we got to SFO, we took a taxi directly to the meeting, which started at noon.  Meeting until 7 PM.  Dinner with colleague, work on talk a bit, then bed at 10 PM PST (for a ~19 hour day).  Each day seemed like this, although none were really longer.  I typically take a few hours off on Friday to shop and such for Christmas presents, but this year I didn't get a chance to do this until about 4:30 on Friday.  It turns out that all of the exhibits closed well before then, so I couldn't get fossils and such for the wife and kids.  How sad!

3. PD Update

My PD who is going home for the holidays is going to be gone much longer than expected.  When he came to the US, he bought a round-trip ticket, with a return date last week.  To get back to the US, he had to buy another ticket, which was very expensive at any reasonable time.  This means that he is going to spend 3 weeks in Euro, instead of 2.  And then he has to go back in ~March, because his Visa expires.  Sigh.

4. Wife doing all of the work

Crab Mama has to be pissed off at me.  She has been doing a crap-load of the house work for the last few weeks.  I have been so busy working, that she has had to take over all of the crap work.  Now I am not working, but I am exhausted and still unable to do anything.  Well, I did wash dishes for 3 hours the other day.  But, she cleaned the basement for about 20 hours yesterday, so I can't really say anything about doing anything.  All pales in comparison to the awesomeness of the wife.  I promise that I will step it up soon!

5. Broken!

Crab Boy broke his arm two days ago.  It was a weird series of events that led up to this event.  A few days ago, the kids went down to the pond in our yard and cleared off a bunch of the snow, just to play around.  They spent hours down there, and were having a lot of fun.  We decided that we should get them some ice skates for Christmas, since they were having so much fun just sliding around.  The next day I bought some ice skates.  The day after that, their friends came over, and brought their ice skates.  This is interesting, since we never mentioned to them that the kids were getting ice skates for Christmas.  The mother of the kids knew that our kids didn't have ice skates.  So, why did they bring ice skates? I have no F-ing idea.  So, they all go down to the pond and the friends start ice skating, while my kids just watch them.  Crab Boy comes up to the house and he is practically in tears.  I felt like sh*t.  So, I go to the basement and get them their ice skates.  Lace up and skate!  A few hours later, after I have gone to work, and Crab Mama has come home, Crab Boy falls down and lands on his hands.  His right wrist gave out a bit, and he came back up and complained to Mom.  She felt around and didn't really like what was there.  Call the doctor, call the urgent care place, etc.  Eventually, everyone decides that he should just go to the ER.  After a couple of hours in the ER, he gets an X-ray, and it turns out that he has a buckle fracture, which is basically like a compression of the bone.  The Dr said that if he was a grown up, it would have really broken, but since he is a kid, it just broke a little bit.  He now has a neon-green cast for three weeks.  Not too bad.

6. In Laws!

There are three in law types here (Mother, Sister, Brother in-law-in-law) for the next 4 days.  With two extra dogs.  Yeah.  Enough said.

7. Dance, Dance, Baby!

Crab Boy performed in his dance recital this last weekend.  It was a hip-hop routine with 5 boys that are all under the age of 10.  He tried very hard.

I guess that is about all that has happened in the last few weeks.  I am emerging from the depths of the great blue ocean, so I should be able to write a bit more in the coming weeks.

Merry Christmas.  I hope you get exactly what you want!  I am sure that I will get what I deserve!

PS - If you find out what Crab Mama is getting for Christmas, it is not because I wanted to get it for her.  I didn't want too!  She has been asking and asking and asking!  I had nothing to do with it!  Ok?  I am NOT a bad husband!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Another Week

Wow, it has been over a week since I wrote something.  That is crazy.  I am entering a super busy time.

Typically, in December people in my community go to a gigantic conference.  This is almost always during finals, which is next week.  So, as I am trying to finish up class, by making a final, grading all of the stuff that I should have graded a week ago, and holding students hands; I am trying to help all of the people who work for me to finish their posters and talks and stuff.  Oh yeah, I have one proposal that is absolutely due next week, and one that I hoped I could turn in (not going to happen).  And, since I am going to be gone for a full week, I would like to spend some more time with the family (ain't gonna happen either).  Today I got to work at 8 AM and left at 7:40 PM.  I came home, ate some cereal and went back at it.  I can't really work anymore, since my brain is fried.  But, I finished my final exam - two versions!

I have yet to actually work on my two talks that I have next week.  The really bad thing is that I have done very little on one of my talks, which is early in the week.  This means that I am screwed.  The other talk is easy to put together and I could do it in an hour or so.  But, that one is Friday.  I really wished that they were reversed.

Crab Mama says that I should go to my first talk, and when they call me, I should just say "pass!" and they can move on to the next person.  If only.

One of the other things that makes life a little crazy right now is that all of the students projects are finishing up.  So, I today I had to go to an almost 2 hour design review for one project, and tomorrow I have to go to another 2 hour review.  That review is after we meet with students to go over their presentations and time them and such.  Then, to add insult to injury, there is a faculty meeting at 3:30 tomorrow.  They can have fun without me.  Finally, tomorrow I have to give version 1 of the final exam from 5-6.  After that, I can go home and start working on my talks.  And do laundry.  And pack.  And see the kids.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Five Minutes

Ok, even though my last post said that I have entered a state of strange calmness, it doesn't mean that I am actually less busy.  I should put that right out there.  It is very difficult for me to even find five minutes for me to do anything like read blogs, let alone post.  I haven't read any blogs in almost a week.

One of the issues is that on the homeschooling front, I am starting to do more with the kids.  I don't really want to - but this is an argument that has been had over and over again.  So, I have been spending a lot of time helping Crab Girl with math.  She is learning how to do some pre-algebra stuff.  For example, simplify the expression 3(6y-4x)-2(5x-2y).  She is having to learn how to multiply by negative numbers and group like terms, etc.  It is interesting to see how minds work to process this.  She has to have a little table:
++ = +
+- = -
-+ = -
-- = +
to do the multiplication.  These are little things that you don't even think about anymore, but are a small hill for her to get over.  It is both frustrating and exciting to see her understanding grow at the same time.  BTW, the answer is 22(y-x).

I have to have a talk with my Post Doc about vacation time and international trips.  This last summer, I sent him on an international trip to a conference that I was interested in attending.  He extended this trip and took a 4 week vacation.  He is going back to his home this month for another 2 weeks.  Then he asked me if he could attend another international trip in March (to his home country again).  This is the part of the plan where I have to put my foot down and say that 6 weeks of vacation is more than enough for someone in one year.  I don't get 6 weeks of vacation in a year.  Post Docs shouldn't really either.  Conversely, the question could be raised - if you are accomplishing all of the goals that are set out for you, should you be allowed to take as much vacation time as you want?  For me, if I accomplish all of my goals, I think to myself that I set my expectations too low, so I make more goals. (Hence the reason I don't have five minutes.)

I have to go so I can teach class in a few minutes.  Students are starting to come into class.