August 05, 2009


So I've been busy, although not that busy; I don't really have any good excuse as to why I haven't posted here in five months. I have a partial explanation: early in the summer I started actively using Facebook's status update as sort of a microblog (e.g. during my France trip). But, and this is both pro and con, those posts are both more ephemeral and more lightweight. Also, being geared to be written in the third person, there is a very different feel over there, and also a tendency to try to write a bit more cryptically. For instance, when my sister got the teaching job, I wrote

Don Blaheta would like to congratulate the newest member of the Barrington HS math faculty.
So that's fun and all, and I'll probably keep it up, but it really isn't amenable to more long-form stuff. But of course I'd already fallen out of the habit of posting regularly; in part because I'd delay posting until I could do a proper job of it, and then eventually I wouldn't want my first post after a long hiatus to be inane. With the inane stuff going to facebook, maybe I'll be able to pick it up again. :)

Since last I posted, I went to Chattanooga for SIGCSE in March, Cincinnati for the AP reading in June, and Paris for ITiCSE in July. Also, I taught two classes, one of which was as a substitute for David (who was on junior leave)—our class in operating systems, networks, and C, which was simply a blast, and at 9 people a lot larger than expected. Maybe we've got a good-size batch of majors this year.

What I haven't done is make much progress on my bathroom, at least until fairly recently. Way back in October, I finished the ceiling, and then got going with scraping the stupid glue off the walls, which was dreadful so I kept putting it off. I did lower the hole for the medicine cabinet, and I got the initial coat of paint on the tub, but other than that and the glue scraping, the first real progress was at the end of June, when I installed the moisture-resistant wallboard in the places with bad plaster, and painted the upper walls. The current work is actually getting the plumbing roughed in, which is partly done (tub done, toiled done except for pouring lead to seat the collar, sink remains but the pipes are cut and just need to be installed). From there I just need to cover the wall cavity where the sink work is being done, and then I can get on with the tiling. With a little luck, I'll be done by the end of the month (which would be a huge relief).

And the last piece of news of interest is that I'm still in limbo on tenure. The usual timeline is that I submit materials in December (which I did), and then a department committee, the faculty personnel committee, the dean, an outside examiner, and the president all think about it and make their recommendations, which the president aggregates into a final decision by late May, which he gives to the board of trustees to ratify at their June meeting. Apparently, though, the outside examiner flaked out, and so I didn't get tenure in June like the other professors up this year—but I also wasn't denied it, I just have to wait. They asked for an extension of the 1 July deadline to 1 September, which I granted (how could I not?), so now it's more waiting. We'll see.

Meanwhile, back to work. I'm teaching FP again this fall and I need to decide whether I can work The God Delusion into the schedule.

"Do the universities provide for society the intellectual leadership it needs or only the training it asks for?" --Edsger Dijkstra

Posted by blahedo at 2:59pm on 5 Aug 2009
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