StPeople

Jul. 27th, 2005 03:28 pm
pmb: (Default)

From left to right:
[livejournal.com profile] tralfazz, [livejournal.com profile] nedthealpaca, [livejournal.com profile] pmb, and [livejournal.com profile] canarasekal

Whoah.

Jul. 14th, 2005 10:24 pm
pmb: (Default)
When life gets going fast, the livejournal updating gets sparse...

When last I updated, I mentioned my birthday. I neglected to mention that my dad was in town for it. Not only that, but he was in town for the Seattle to Portland bike ride, which I did last weekend with [livejournal.com profile] nedthealpaca, [livejournal.com profile] tralfazz, and [livejournal.com profile] canarasekal, while [livejournal.com profile] dboothe drove sagwagon of hugeness for support. We rode from Seattle to Centralia on Saturday (~100 miles) and then from Centralia to Portland on Sunday (~100) miles for a grand total of 206 miles at an average speed (when we were moving) of 15.5 MPH.

Then, on Sunday, my dad returned the hugemobile (candy apple red Dodge Durango) to the rental agency and got on a plane for home, and Dan and I headed back to Eugene.

On the way up we slept on Thursday night at the salut haus, and hung out with [livejournal.com profile] ideath, [livejournal.com profile] conformpdx, [livejournal.com profile] esmesquall, [livejournal.com profile] ouro, Miana, Joel, Beth, and Linus (as well as the people who were going on the trip). Then, on Friday we crashed in the big blue house in Seattle and saw Chiara, her mom, [livejournal.com profile] mbrubeck, and [livejournal.com profile] clairebaxter. Then we rode, and you know the rest...

After that adventure, class resumed on Monday (tired legs made getting to class on time difficult), my little brother headed out and south to Berkeley on Wednesday and class ended today.

The class went really well overall, but I don't think I will be doing any 4 week intensives any more. It's just too much - I was really pushing everybody to their limit at times in the class, and their performance in other classes apparently suffered as a result. It's difficult to see any other way of doing things however, because when you squeeze an 11 week term into 4 weeks, then that one class is like taking 2.75 classes. But people think the workload will be more like 1.5 classes and so build their schedules (in)appropriately.

However, the whole class responded really well to the increased pressure. Lots of high quality gibberish programs, everybody's wiki worked and some were genuinely amazing, and I was blown away by the quality and success rate of the final projects. It made me feel like we don't push our undergrads hard enough - give them opportunity to excel and they generally will. But perhaps that's just some of the old Mudd experience rearing its head.

I tried some new teaching techniques this term - I treated the subject as easy and just gave quick overviews on syntax and stuff and then threw the first assignment at them. Students later claimed that what I had done was okay because it was easy, but I'm unconvinced. I think treating things as difficult makes people have trouble. Python makes a few aspects of computer science really neat to talk about, and it also promotes a development style that is fun. In particular, the way the guts of python are available at runtime makes it very easy and natural to talk about the idea of layers of complexity and understanding, and how it's important to understand things at the appropriate level. Multiple students reported the phenomenon where they enjoyed what they were doing so much that they got a little carried away on this or that project, which was really exciting to see. That excitement lead pretty naturally into a discussion of prototyping and the idea of explorig the problem domain by doing instead of thinking. After every assignment I passed back anonymized copies of everyone's code to everyone in the class after every assignment. It was really interesting to see the myriad different ways people would solve the same problem, particularly when I totally thought I had telegraphed the easy solution.

The python class remains my baby and remains hella fun to teach. I have to finish grading stuff this weekend, and then, about a week after I turn in the grades, I'll see if the students enjoyed the class too.
pmb: (Default)
...because my eyes were tearing like mad.

So let's have a poll - is this far, far too fast, or .5 MPH too slow?


pmb: (kitty behind printer)
Seattle was great. I met new people, saw old friends again, and generally had a blast. Afterwards I was a bit tired, however.

So I spent the succeeding week working my butt off to catch up on all the stuff I missed. Which was not a good way to get less tired.

Then, I didn't want to kill my training plan, so on Sunday I rode my bike from Eugene to Corvallis (ie. to the [livejournal.com profile] olstads place - their new place that they were moving into THAT DAY). On the way I took a wrong turn (or, rather, didn't take the right turn) and ended up going about 15 miles more than I was planning. I arrived there, collapsed, drank water, napped, and then I helped them move in by setting up their A/V equipment, their computer, their wireless internet, and then by stealing their pizza. (Never let it be said that I don't fulfill at least a few stereotypes upon occasion) By this time it had gotten far too late for me to ride back (It was 63 miles there, but was probably only going to be about 49 miles back - assuming I didn't screw up again).

Of course, I didn't call home to alert interested parties that the plans had changed. So [livejournal.com profile] goteam called them up to ask if I had left in the dark and was dead in a ditch, at which point I commenced groveling.

I arrived home, and proceeded to be sick as a dog for the next 48 hours (Monday + Tuesday). 72 hours later, I am running at about 75%, so I'll probably finally head back into the office tomorrow to see if anything needs doing. And boy does it. I am pretty sure that a whole lot of anything has piled up in my absence. But the books that Andy and Stacey lent me have been fun, and I've managed watch all of Firefly, Stop Making Sense, and one disk of Buffy, so I suppose it can't be all bad.
pmb: (kitty behind printer)
Went on a ride with the Greater Eugene Area RiderS. Got rained on a little for the first 15 miles, then it cleared up. Had a tasty reuben at the 30 mile mark. Coming back into Eugene, with about 6 miles to go til home, I'm going down Bailey Hill (a 30 mph kind of downhill) and it starts hailing.

Sideways.

After a bit it stops (oh my but that hail hurts when you are wearing bike shorts instead of tights and have no glasses on) and turns into rain. Then, about 10 minutes later: all hail hail! It was so bad that, instead of going the last mile to my house in the stinging ice from the sky, I stopped at [livejournal.com profile] flamingweasel and [livejournal.com profile] joyquality's pad and dripped onto their nice carpeted floor until the hail stopped. Then, I said "hello" and "still alive" to [livejournal.com profile] goteam at Sundance and came home and took a shower. 54.75 miles today, much of it in the wet and rain and ice. Not too shabby.

Good Day

Apr. 2nd, 2005 05:29 pm
pmb: (kitty behind printer)
Today I most definitely did not have to use my AK.

I finally got that damn paper done. The deadline got extended for us, and we might have been even later than was acceptable on our submission, but at least it's out the door and I still think it's an okay paper. That was done before today, but it was still nice.

To answer everyone's question about what pedals I got (1, 2, 3, 4) I got the Shimano SPD 1/2 clipless and 1/2 normal pedals. That way I'm not required to wear my cycling shoes all the time. I have not yet fallen over, but I have had at least two clip-related close calls.

I also got cycling shoes and shorts, because Paul's is having a sale. I clipped in for the first time yesterday and rode for about 4 miles, and today I put on the hot pants cycling shorts and went for a ~20 miler on what seems to be my milk run on a road bike. If you are in Eugene and like to bike, I highly recommend the Lorraine-MacBeth-Fox Hollow ride. I have ridden it many times, by myself, with the chair of my department, with my dad, and with [livejournal.com profile] bookerz and it has been great every time. This is the first time I've ever had a bike (or, really any toy) that was way better at doing its thing than I was. I feel like I'm flying up and down the hills, and that the only reason I'm not going even faster is because of my wussy legs. It's a neat feeling. I'm pretty sure I averaged at least 17 miles an hour, which is not too shabby for all those hills. Perhaps I should get a bike computer so that I can make sure that my numbers are going up, and therefore I am having more fun :)

Also, [livejournal.com profile] goteam made an awesome apple crisp that was the perfect thing when I got back from my ride all calorie starved.

Alright, time to mow the lawn and advance the laundry. Does anyone want to ride in the Seattle to Portland ride this summer? If I can find someone I know doing it (preferably the two day, but I am persuadeable) then I will definitely be in...

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