First Day

January 14, 2008

Today was the first day of classes, and I’m feeling pretty good. My classes seem somewhat lively, though I have close to 100 brand new names to (try to) learn.

It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks, what with the semester starting up and a concert right around the corner. Once that’s over, though, I’m looking forward to settling into my new routine.

I was approached today by my department chair and asked if I would mind picking up another section of Calculus 1, giving me a 4 credit overload. I’ve been asked to do overloads in the past, and I always say no. However, I’ve sometimes felt guilty about this, since I know that people only get asked to do overloads when the department is in a bind. I don’t want to be known as the person who never helps out, but at the same time, I really don’t like doing them. I don’t really need the money, and this would greatly increase my stress during the Spring, which is usually the semester when I get to relieve some stress and work on side projects.

So I tentatively agreed to do the overload, but after thinking about it for a while, decided to try to get out of it. Eventually the chair found someone else to do it, but I do still feel a bit guilty. I offered to absorb some of the extra students into my existing section (even though that would mean more grading for no extra pay), but the chair felt that would send a bad message to the administration. I guess there’s no way to avoid being known as the guy who never wants to do overloads, since that’s 100% accurate.


Traveling to Conferences is Fun and Profitable

January 6, 2008

Or not.

So the Joint Mathematics Meetings are going on right now in San Diego, and here I am in Chicago’s lovely O’Hare airport. I’ve been in Chicago since around 8pm last night, when my connecting flight to San Diego got cancelled.

I was told by the customer service representative that there were no seats available on flights leaving today, and that while I would be on standby for a flight today, that the best they could guarantee for me was a flight leaving Monday morning. Since my return flight is scheduled for Tuesday morning, this didn’t seem like a very good option. Not to mention the fact that I didn’t especially want to spend the day at O’Hare bouncing from gate to gate hoping to get a seat on a flight.

To their credit, the airline put me up in a very nice hotel last night, but when I got to the airport today, things got interesting. And not in a good way.

I waited on line at the ticket counter and told the representative that if it looked like I wasn’t going to get on the first flight out to San Diego this morning, that there wasn’t much point in my going to San Diego at all, and could I just get a flight back to Harrisburg? At this point, he told me two things:

  1. A flight to Harrisburg had left 5 minutes earlier, and all the other flights to Harrisburg today were full.
  2. I was booked on a flight to San Diego, through Minneapolis, but I had showed up to the airport too late to make it. Now, I had never been told about this flight, so I’m not sure who booked me on it, nor how I was supposed to arrive on time for a flight I was unaware of.

Needless to say, I was not happy with this development. Given that I (apparently) could not fly into Harrisburg today, I asked if I could get to Philadelphia. From there I could take a train to Harrisburg. Not at all convenient, but still better than sitting around O’Hare for a day. So I got ticketed onto a flight to Philly.

Later, while waiting for the Philly flight, I figured it couldn’t hurt to talk to a different customer service rep. This one seemed a lot more sympathetic to my situation, and actually managed to get me on a Harrisburg flight. I’m still waiting for that flight to take off (it still says “On Time” but I don’t want to get my hopes up). Wish me luck!

Oh the humanity

December 19, 2007

Baaaah. So it turns out I made an error in calculating the grades in one of my classes, so I had to go into the office and fill out a bunch of paperwork to get the grades changed. Plus I’ve been inundated by emails from students asking what’s going on with their grades. I thought the semester was over! Plus, I’ve been trying to figure out what to get my family for xmas. I think I have it all worked out except for my parents… any suggestions?

Also, here’s a funny picture.

Grades done

December 18, 2007

Hooray for my grading being done. One good outcome of yesterday’s power failure was that I didn’t really have anything to do except go into my office and crank out the rest of my grading. Now I have a little time “off” to visit my family for the holidays, get my talk ready for the Joint Meetings, and get my spring classes ready. Spring will be here before I know it!