Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Do you agree?

I think the peanut butter-to-chocolate ratio in Reese's Miniatures has improved. The balance seems to reflect more the perfection of the regular Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Perhaps I shall continue testing this hypothesis.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

An observation

In the past couple of weeks, I've baked banana nut bread and brownies. There is a coffee cake in the oven as I type. Methinks I've moved back to a cooler climate, and it's baking season! Mmm...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Not Complaining

My college has canceled classes through next Monday due to the fires in the surrounding areas. As much as it's annoying to lose a week in the second half of the semester, I won't complain... so far, class time is all I've lost, and so many others aren't as lucky.

Monday, October 22, 2007


My college closed early today and will be closed tomorrow because of the fires in the San Diego region. Several of my colleagues and students were evacuated from their homes. The air quality is bad, the car is covered with ashes, and we are miles away from the fires. As I sit here on the couch in our apartment, I can see ashes in the air outside, and the color of the light coming in through the window is just plain wrong. Although all the windows and doors are closed, I can still smell smoke.

Here's to hoping that the fires are contained soon and to being safe and well.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Back in MY Day

Last week I did a calculation on the board in my physics class. The physics was simple (just two lines), but the algebra to solve the problem involved most of the board. Must to my dismay (horror? surprise?), instead of writing down the derivation, several of the students took out their camera phones and snapped pics of it. "If I copy it down, I might make a mistake," was the response to my, well, sarcastic questioning. The art of note-taking is fading, fading... gone.

About half of my physics students are architecture majors. If you aren't aware, architecture students get worked hard in their classes. I understand that, truly, but there's a level of work that you need to put into physics to understand it. Problem-solving is a skill learned through practice, not just by watching someone else perform calculations. I approached a few of my students about their (non-existant) homework scores, and they sheepishly admitted they needed to put in more work. But they also said, "At least when you were a physics major, you could just concentrate on the physics, without having all this other work to do." Yes, I remember, back in the day, when I was required to take only one class each semester so I could give my attention solely to learning physics.... Everybody's own major is the hardest, isn't it?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Missing Arizona

I'm sick. I wanted spicy food. So we drove to a place where we knew we could get really spicy food, but we couldn't find parking. For blocks around. In Phoenix, there would have been multiple choices to get really spicy food, all with ample parking. I usually don't miss Arizona, but today, I miss some of the conveniences.

On the other hand, after we gave up and came home, Greg heated up some chicken noodle soup, which I dosed with hot sauce. He's always a sweetie, especially when I'm not feeling well. In a little while, I will look at him beseechingly, and he'll make me cocoa. Mmmm...curative cocoa...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


The week goes by so quickly. The class schedule at my new college is concentrated Mon-Thurs, so I have three day weekends. Yay! But that also means I have four really hectic workdays. It is all a blur, they go by so fast. In fact, I'm writing this during "free time" - my students are taking an exam. Just thought I take some time to jot some thoughts on my blog:

  • I forgot my watch today. I feel naked and disoriented.
  • Car insurance in CA is waaaaaay more expensive than in AZ.
  • Facebook is very, very weird.
  • I get stranger questions in my astronomy classes here than I did in AZ. I don't know if it's a difference in background, or if my previous students were more shy and didn't pipe up.
  • I'm hungry.
  • It's that time in the semester where the students are infecting us with their germs. Two lab techs and a faculty member taken down so far. Wish me luck.
  • My new students didn't appreciate the Mimas vs. Death Star comparison. I feel old.
  • Since work started, I no longer see the sea as often, but there are some new pics at my Picasa space.

Test is done. Back to work!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Sputnik was launched 50 years ago today. NPR has thorough coverage, including Daniel Schorr's memories of being in Moscow that day. All the talk of Sputnik reminded me that I hadn't yet mentioned that y'all should go see In the Shadow of the Moon, which features Apollo astronauts discussing their missions. I, of course, wept during he whole movie. How we've failed those courageous, risk-taking, intelligent, driven men. We used to know how to dream.