April 26, 2006

Summer News, ramblings

The semester is winding down...all I have left to do class-wise is 1 homework assignment and an exam for Applied next week, and do a group presentation on a Mathematical Phyiscs paper during finals week. I'm quite ready for summer, though I very much need to make sure that I do my fair share of studying this summer so I can pass my quals. Of course there is also a pile of grading that I will need to do in the next week for the class I'm teaching...blah.

Speaking of the summer, we both seem to have plans pretty much set. I'm getting some summer money from the department as part of my 1st year grad student support, and I have scored a month's worth of support from Professor Milewski in return for some research. Hopefully I'll find something good which will be a starting point for future research in my next few years. After the researching, I will be taking a ~6 week applied math qual prep class from Ben Akers, which should prove to be super useful. After that, we move into our new place, hang with the visiting Morbecks, go to a Cubs game, and then the quals will be upon me. Hopefully we will go to a few Cubs and/or Brewers games this summer too.

Jennie has a job with the University Theatre costume shop and also doing alterations for David's Bridal. She seems excited about both jobs, and they should be fun. She'll be working a lot when the 2 jobs overlap (mid-May to mid-July), so I need to make sure I'm busy with stuff so I don't get Cabin Fever.

Other ramblings...

I still haven't gotten my teaching evaluations back yet. From last fall. Some people have gotten them back yet but it's been pretty spotty all around. I have no idea how my students rated me. I feel like I've done an okay job each semester that I've taught, doing well in different areas. Last semester I was one of 10 TAs teaching for a large lecture and I feel like I did a pretty good job interacting with my ~45 students and staying organized, though I'm not sure how directly useful my discussions were. This semester I was the sole TA for a course of ~75 students, and I saw them less often than in 222. I feel like I did a better job of presenting how to approach problems etc in discussion, but did a poorer job of keeping my students involved. Being the only TA I was far less organized and made more rookie mistake type stuff due to the fact that I didn't have any other TAs to sound off of in the class. It will be interesting to see how they all come back.

In TV-watching news...the only 'live' TV we've watched lately has been Cubs games. We just finished our 3rd run through of Buffy and it gets better somehow every time. Joss Whedon really is great. Jennie has said at several points that the show has renewed her belief in television as a source of truly quality TV shows. I think its terrible that the show never really got any critical acclaim...though not as big of a travesty as Firefly, the best show on TV ever, being cancelled after one season.

In book-reading news, I just finished At All Costs, the most recent book in the Honor Harrington series. Jennie is still slogging through the tepid Ashes of Victory (it gets better!). IM me if you want to discuss what will happen next, impressions, etc...the end of that last book was pretty wild.

Anyway, I've done pretty well at procrastinating to avoid the above homework, I should probably get back to it...