Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

One of each 

Well, I've now been to one of each class that I'm enrolled in. I guess it's a little perverse that I was happy that I got homework in each. The complex homework looks trivial, but the selection of problems bodes well for the future. The elliptic curves class looks to be really fun. Just for a kick, I'm writing a little paperlet on how one would draw graphs in Fp, as much for my own edification as for anything else.

T-shirt watch 

Seen on student T-shirts today:
I'm not listening la la la
Shut the duck up

Monday, August 29, 2005

End of the day 

I'd probably be less tired if I'd slept last night (shh, don't tell my wife, she'll be mad at me).

My algebra class lesson plan was quite a bit more fully stuffed than I'd originally anticipated. Between teaching note-taking, 1 section of the book and the syllabus, I had no time left for the "fun" order of operations activity. Maybe I can squeeze it in on Wednesday. On the other hand, I forgot to buy treats for the winners, so it wasn't a complete disaster.

My freeway flying is a lot faster than I'd anticipated. I was worried about returning the data projector to AV, walking back to my car, driving from MRU to NBCC, finding parking and getting to my classroom in time. I actually had enough spare time to stop by the cafeteria and buy a macaroni salad and a Diet Mountain Dew Code Red which is the second most vile beverage I've ever tasted (the winner was some Red Bull that my dad bought when we convoyed my stuff from the city of my birth to the current megalopolis).

Despite being way under-planned for my liberal arts math class, I feel like the class went pretty well. I even had two students come to my office hour, but mostly at my direct invitation because they had missed the Möbius Stripping class and they really needed to see how the experiments worked for that class.

And then it was back to MRU for my first graduate class at that illustrious institution. I didn't really get a chance to talk to anyone: Two of my fellow TAs were present and acknowledged my presence. The homework was really trivial. We have a week and a half to turn it in and I finished it in class, while taking notes. For that matter, my notes from 75 minutes of class were all of 2 pages in Cornell format. I'm worried that the class itself will be lacking the rigour that I really want from it. So I guess I'll continue working through every damn problem in the book. I have just one problem left in 1.4 (matrix groups) and 1.5 (Quaternions) will go quickly. At least I won't spend a lot of time on class work if the first assignment is any indication. I'll type it up later this week, I suppose.

Damn, I really hope that the other two classes I'm taking this semester are a bit more rigorous. My previous sample, the homework assignments from the Topology class I didn't take last spring looked good, so maybe it'll work out.

And now to drive to the airport to pick up my dear delayed wife.

Trader Zen Multi-Purpose Cleaner: The Secret 

My wife, in an attempt to make us an environmentally friendly household has a penchant for buying organic/eco-friendly products that just don't seem to work. One of thse was the Trader Zen Multi-Purpose Cleaner which is allegedly an organic substitute for Windex (whether it clears up acne remains to be seen). My problem with this stuff is that it has had a tendency to leave HUGE streaks on the mirrors when I clean with it. Huh? I thought the whole purpose of this stuff was not to streak. Then I tackled the mirror in the office this morning. Since it was mostly clean to begin with, I decided to just use a little bit on the parts that were dirty. Suddenly things got cleaner than I've ever seen. So the secret, apparently, is to just use a little bit of the cleaner rather than spraying liberally like I would with windex.

Meet the blogroll: Planned obsolescence 

There's usually some hook that draws me in to a blog. In the case of Planned obsolescence it was the fact that not only is Kathleen Fitzpatrick blogging under her own name, she also teaches at a college that I have some tangential connection to (I won't say more than that, although I will say that her college is not one at which I was ever enrolled as a student). Fitzpatrick teaches English and Media Studies (which seems to me the major that a person who would be an English major if it weren't for all that reading would choose*). She's got tenure so she at least doesn't have to worry about the whole being outed and denied a job, a fact which she pointed out in the midst of her longish post on the whole Ivan Tribble thing. The summer has been mostly travel and home life, but there's also quite a bit about the joy of teaching and research which presumably will return as classes re-start. * OK, I'm being a bit snarky. But I've always been that way about just about every recently developed major. You should hear me mock the CS people sometime.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Meet the blogroll: One Bright Star 

Sometimes I don't remember what attracted me to a blog. And sometimes I do. In the case of One Bright Star it' the latter. She made a reference to going to mass and the reading that week was one of my favorites (and sadly, being the occasionally remiss Catholic that I've become since marriage, I missed that week).

So she got tossed in the bookmark folder. Since I've been reading her, I can see that she and her husband are the sort of people who I'd be friends with in real life, assuming that I had any idea that she was an academic if I met her at church (or a singing Catholic if I met her at school).

There's apparently no archive links (although a handful of old entries are bookmarked in the side bar), so if you're new to 1B* you'll be coming in media res like everyone ellse and you won't have to stress out about catching up. Cause you can't.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Saturday Search: math Functions of One Complex Variable I homework conway 

This week's search (hand-picked from the blogspot referral log): math Functions of One Complex Variable I homework conway OK, here's the deal. Conway is a Springer graduate text. If you're assigned homework from it, you're most likely a graduate student. So do your own damn homework. If you're having difficulty, that's what classes and office hours are for. If that's still not enough, maybe you should reconsider the decision to go to graduate school. (Actually, I have one addendum to offer on this: If you're using the book for self-study, you might not have easy access to the above resources. But many math profs are willing to answer random e-mail queries from non-students. Also, if you make a point of doing every problem, you'll find that your understanding will grow by leaps and bounds.

What are undergrads thinking 

Apparently an anthropology prof used the same techniques that she would use to study any other culture. She moved in with the undergrads. The article is frustratingly short on details, but it did at least identify the book that she wrote on the subject. I think I'll have to order it.

Everyone else is doing it... 

Modern, Cool Nerd
82 % Nerd, 60% Geek, 39% Dork
For The Record: A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia. A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one. A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions. You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in either of the following:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

Love & Sexuality

Thanks Again!

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 88% on nerdiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 74% on geekosity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 62% on dork points
Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid

Friday, August 26, 2005

We'll see 

The Washington Post says that if I mention Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, I'll have more readers. Maybe even readers who have some ideas for an opening day activity. I'm thinking of perhaps the 1999 game (you get the digits 1999 and have to combine them using +-*/^() to get the numbers from 0 to 100. Actually this could be fun and would give us a good grounding in the order of operations.

Will the other kids like me? 

In addition to next week being the start of teaching at MRU, it's also the first week of taking classes at MRU. And I'm realizing that I've not met anyone who's in my Monday class. Most of the grad students I've met are pretty far into their programs with many finishing this semester. I'm the only new grad student in the department who's teaching. I hope that they like me. I get the feeling that many of the other grad students who are teaching don't like me. Certainly, I feel a bit of an outsider with them (although that's also partly my fault: I slipped off on my own for lunch yesterday). I wonder whether there's a perception of me as arrogant (I can see that because my reaction to complaints about teaching factoring to the students was to (try to) show them the Lizzie method. Or perhaps I'm viewed as not properly paying my dues since I went straight into this level of employment (frankly, I'd've been happier with the more flexible scheduling of the GA positions even if they pay less). Just one more thing to be nervous about.

Looking for a good activity 

Something for the first day of class which will be hands-on and will have educational value. Here are potential topics: I think that I'd really like some sort of hands-on activity for order of operations, but I've not found anything. Anyone? This would be for Monday, so prompt responses would be so wonderful.

Meet the Blogroll: New Kid on the Hallway 

New Kid's blog is another life on the tenure track diary. After I was invited to leave my high school teaching job, I dropped the blogs from my regular reading, and only gradually did I start adding some back in. New Kid's blog was the second to make it into my bookmark folder when I began the move towards college teaching.

Friday random 10 

  1. "Der Kommisar," Basta, Basta.
  2. "Freedom Fighters," The Music, Freedom Fighters [single]
  3. "Je Ne T'aime Pas," Holly Cole Trio, Don't Smoke in Bed
  4. "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," The Cannonball Adderley Quintet, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
  5. "St. Teresa," Joan Osborne, KSCA Live From The Music Hall, Vol 2
  6. "The Way Things Are (album version)," Francis Dunnery, The Way Things Are [single]
  7. "The world is waiting for the sunrise," Stan Freberg, The Very Best of Stan Freberg
  8. "Are You Out There?" Dar Williams, Live At The World Cafe - Vol. 7
  9. "Kiss Me," Shelly Fairchild, Kiss Me [single]
  10. "Edition Spéciale," Francis Cabrel, Quel Qu'un De L'Interieur

Die dirt, die! 

After the demise of our vacuum cleaner and a bit of research we've settled on the vacuum cleaner on the left. It's big, it's yellow and presumably once I get it out of the box it will suck something fierce.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Maybe I'll just start wearing boots 

Most stores don't sell trousers with an inseam longer than 34. So I go to the Big & Tall store to pay too much. Except that they will sell me 36x38 or 38x36 but they have no 36x36 which is my size. I CANNOT BUY CLOTHES MY SIZE! Apparently I'm some sort of hideous mutant freak. Too big & tall for the regular stores, not big & tall enough for the big & tall shops. And Casual Male Big & Tall is evil. They have signs that say that if they don't have your size in stock you'll get your pants free, but they LIE. What they'll really do is ship it to you for free within 5 days. That's not what your sign says, assholes.

It's been a busy first week 

The CCs have started classes (as you may have gleaned), MLU starts classes next week and meeting this week, my wife is in and out of town all week (she's home today but will be gone again until Monday... I plan to eat more sausage). And a music ensemble I play with had a performance last week. At the other end of the megalopolis. And I really miss having a working printer at home although I did figure how to print directly to the computer in the faculty workroom at NCC from my laptop. So blogging has been a bit minimal. My plan for the remainder of the evening is to fold my wife's laundry and watch the last half of Lola Rennt. I will continue with Meet the Blogroll and also talk a bit about therapy as requested.

Moebius stripping 

Since my Möbius strip lesson was so successful last semester, I moved it to the beginning of the semester this year. Man this is fun. I love the look on students faces as they try the various experiments and see what comes out the other end. We played a bit with nets as a time killer (last semester the Möbius Strip lesson was part of a longer lecture on topology most of which I've jettisoned from the course. I'm going for depth rather than breadth and the textbook's offerings on topology didn't get much bigger than counting holes to determine the genus of a 3-d object).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

He's been identified 

A few months I posted a one-liner about a mysterious piano player found in Britain. Well, the mystery has been solved. The part of the story that really intrigues me is the revelation that his piano playing is not that good after all. Who was doing the evaluating? Then I checked the BBC web site and discover newspaper reports now suggest he was only able to play one note continuously." The Times wasn't exaggerating when they said that his playing was closer to Chopsticks than Beethoven.

Monday, August 22, 2005

First day of classes 

Hmm, who'd've guessed it. Apparently the computer projector is not standard equipment in classrooms. Distant Community College has its A/V department right next door to my classroom, so I don't have a problem there. Not sure about Near Community College. My planned class discussion was a bit shorter than I'd anticipated. And the note-taking presentation was a lot shorter without the projected notes. I don't want my students to get used to the idea that class will end early so I'll come up with some extra activities for Wednesday's class to make sure we go the full 2 hours.

My humor style 

Yeah this is about right. Blame 1B*.

the Wit
(66% dark, 19% spontaneous, 21% vulgar)
your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

You probably loved the Office. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check it out here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/theoffice/.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on dark
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on spontaneous
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 42% on vulgar
Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

Friday, August 19, 2005

Found a shrink 

After a few calls, I've managed to find exactly what I was looking for: Behavioral therapy with pharmaceutical treatment.

The badger fund 

Go read this and then send some money. I did.

And then maybe write to your congresscritters and tell them to fix the unbelievably broken healthcare system in this country.

Meet the blogroll: My Hiding Place 

As the academic year starts to kick into gear, I've been neglecting this recurring feature, but let me try and get back on top of it here. So let me introduce you to My Hiding Place written by Musey Me. I can't remember whether I started reading her blog because she'd commented here or because of the link from Learning Curves or maybe both. Musey is a research scientist. One of the fun (albeit time-consuming) parts of this series is that I end up digging through blog archives to find out things like, "what field is she in? he's a what? was that her or the other one?" I realized that Musey never really identifies her field. I have a feeling that she's in social sciences but I could be wrong.

My co-workers 

At the adjunct meeting, the chair had the huge crowd of adjuncts each stand up and introduce themselves. They were supposed to say their names, what class they taught and something interesting about themselves. It was scary how many of them talked about being math addicts. I think actually that part of that was that after one person said it, it was easier to just say that than to come up with something about yourself. I would guess that about half were current or retired high school teachers. I wonder if I count as a retired high school teacher? Speaking of retired teachers, it occurs to me that the Borders Educators Appreciation Weekend is coming up in about a month or so. And the second book in Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle is finally in paperback. Yay.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I've got rosters 

I've decided to be high-tech this semester and everything's on-line. I managed to download my class rosters from the district's intranet web site and import them into Easy Grade Pro in 3-4 relatively easy steps. Now to do this for the mid-tier state classes. Enrollment is interesting: I've got 24 students in the noon class and 35 in the 7.30a class. I think that I'll encourage those in the early class to enroll in the later class to try and balance the two.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Student expectations 

Oh dear, whilst looking (for entertainment purposes only) through ratemyprofessors.com at the entries for co-workers and faculty at my grad program, I came across the following from someone taking an upper division number theory class:
First off, do not take this class with X. X likes to focus on too much theory instead of easy computational problems. Most of the homework problems are hard proofs and long calculations.
Oh my God! He like totally makes you write proofs instead of doing easy computational problems. In an upper division class for majors!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I guess the summer's kind of over now 

Because I have my textbook for the algebra class and I had my first meeting today. I've changed the count-down timer at the right to reflect this. Many of the goals that I have on the right are also semester goals rather than summer goals (I've used a sub-color to indicate things that I expect to span longer than the semester but which are part of larger goals).

Mystery solved: New one generated 

I've been periodically getting HUGE spikes in my traffic (click on the little button near the bottom with the graph to see what I'm talking about). I'd been wondering what was happening to cause this and I managed to catch it the same day to see if there was a common referrer. There is.

So why is 79% of my traffic coming gfrom people who are asking that question? And are they all the same person?


Posted from my(!) office (well, actually, I'm one of 12 people in here). And the campus wireless network works just fine. What's more the people who've configured the net haven't needlessly blocked ports so I can send and receive e-mail from the campus. Now if I can only find out about networked printers...

What cleans whiteboards? 

My wife and I bought a whiteboard at Ikea earlier this year to keep to-do lists and our calendar on. But when I've gone to clean it off, I've discovered that some of the marker marks have become a bit permanent. Any suggestions on what will clean this stuff off the white board?

Meet the Blogroll: The Little Professor 

The Little Professor is one of those blogs that I didn't find through Learning Curves. She's a literature professor specializing in 19th century religious fiction. And she happened to mention Graham Greene today (who's almost certainly my favorite author as a look through my bookshelves would reveal). Her subject matter is something which definitely appeals to me. Had I gone through with my original plan to get a PhD in English, this would have been the area that I would have pursued in my dissertation research (and if anyone has any questions about British Catholic authors, I'm probably still somewhere around the 90th percentile in knowing the field).

Because spam is spam 

I got a spam e-mail from someone starting a lefty blog index. And while I'm very much to the left in my politics (my pick in the primaries last year was Carol Moseley-Braun), spam is spam. I hit the report spam button and moved on with my life.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Meet the blogroll: Learning Curves 

I've found that blog communities tend to have hubs, much like airlines. When I was teaching (and blogging about) high school, the K12 blogging community that I identified with seemed to have as its hub, Ms Frizzle. Having moved on to post-secondary education, it seems clear to me that my new hub is Learning Curves.

Learning Curves is the blog of Rudbeckia Hirta (a damned cool pseudonym, if I might say so), and chronicles her life as a non-TT (and yet full time and even administrating) prof at a university that I always envision as somewhere in the northern south* although I suspect that where I would put the pin in my mental map of the united states is probably actually a tobacco farm or a Stuckey's or something of that order.

I've stolen a lot of teaching ideas from Becky and plan to continue doing so in the future (it helps that we taught very similar classes last spring, although she gets to teach Calculus this fall while I'll continue teaching junior high mathematics to college students). Her progress bars were the inspiration for the bars I've put in my sidebar (although I've implemented them differently). The vast majority of my blog reading comes from her blog roll (and I'll periodically go to her blog roll and open a tab with each blog in hers that shows as unread).

So the upshot of all of this is that odds are that if you're reading this, you probably already know and love her blog and if you're looking for other blogs you'll find a much wider selection than I have in my paltry little blogroll, but I'll soldier on anyway.

I'll continue the series on Monday.

* I actually know exactly where it is, sorta kinda (the information is stashed away somewhere in my mailbox, but it didn't really stick in my brain)

So I'm taking the quiz 

and at one point, I say to myself, "I have a feeling I'm going to be Costa Rica." Then I click the button and see:

You're Costa Rica!
You're about as peaceful as anyone on the planet, a real dyed-in-the-wool pacifist.  And why not?  No one really poses much of a threat to you and everything seems to work out, no matter how much violence and insanity rages all around you.  So you relax and appreciate nature and culture while the rest of the world carries on their petty disagreements.  If only everyone could follow your example...
Take the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid

Backstroke of the west 

This is one of the funniest things I've read in a while.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Meet the blogroll: Intellectual con Fusion 

I started reading Dafina's Intellectual con Fusion because of a case of mistaken seismology. I found her through Learning Curves' blogroll (more on that tomorrow!) and I've found her read-worthy. The summer's been a bit slow, but in the time that I've been reading her, I've enjoyed it. What more to say? First year TT professor of lit. And like me, she's an INFP.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Meet the Blogroll: Confessions of a Community College Dean 

Confessions of a Community College Dean is rapidly becoming one of my favorite blogs to visit. Unlike certain other chronicles of higher education, I'm left thinking that this is an administrator that I'd like to work with, and the insights into how things work at the administrative level are stunning. Especially fun has been his series on making the jump to administration (which given the academic job market doesn't seem like such a bad thing necessarily). The periodic reflections on parental life also provide me a preview of what is notionally my future as well.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

My wife's movie picks 

By coincidence as much as by intention, my wife had two Whoopi Goldberg movies in a row in her netflix queue: The Color Purple and Sarafina. I'd never seen either of these before. By our estimation, these are the most depressing Whoopi Goldberg movies ever.

Interacting with normals 

I took my car in to the tire shop for its 5000 mile tire rotation (the shop promised to do it for free, but I hadn't realized that they would also do a half-assed job of it). Anyway, while waiting the obscenely long amount of time for them to do it (and I'm not talking about the time waiting for them to get an open lift, I'm talking about the time that it spent on the lift: Hell, I could have done it quicker with a jack and a lugwrench), I ended up having another couple that was waiting start a conversation with me while I was doing some work on my algebra syllabus. "I'm not disturbing you," the woman asked. "No," I lied. They wanted to know how long it took me to learn computers (I have no idea what that means. I've been playing with computers since I was, oh, 11 or 12, so I could argue that I've been doing it for a quarter century (and still no visible progress)). I pointed out at the moment that my computer was little more than a typewriter. They wanted to know whether it was harder to "learn computers" on a laptop. I'm just happy they didn't ask me what I did for a living. I know that I would have been regaled with tales of their mathematical ignorance had I been asked (and answered honestly).

Meet the blogroll: Academic Splat 

Continuing the series (I'm aiming for one a day, plus iron). Today we move one notch down the list to Academic Splat!. Professor Camicao (as usual, not his real name) is a lit professor. This is who I might have been had I not been such a screw up as an undergrad (so, yes, I know a whole hell of a lot more about Derridas, Dickens and deconstructionism than do most mathematicians). And I managed (I think because of New Kid on the Hallway) to get on board fairly early in the life cycle of his blog. And he's an occasional commenter here. All of which makes me like him even if he is possibly the anti-me (we'd best not meet or we could cause the universe to disappear).

His posting tends towards the roughly daily long thoughtful post rather than the frequent short bullet (which, i have to confess is a bit more of my preference in reading at least. This is why I never got into Atrios). Since his blog life has been summertime only, the posting has been more about the life of the mind thusfar, but it's all been well-written and deserving of a place in the blogroll.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Meet the blogroll: Academic Coach 

This is the first of a continuing series where I'm going to draw attention to the blogs in my blogroll. So, working our way down the list, we start with Academic Coach. The blog is written by Mary McKinney, a clinical psychologist who specializes in (surprise!) coaching academics (both grad students and PhDs) towards meeting their goals in academic life. I don't remember which blog directed me there initially, but a post on depression stirred me into (slow-motion) action towards dealing with my depression.

Posting is fairly light, with clusters of activity surrounded by periodic lulls in the action, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of flogging the services of Dr McKinney which makes it much more readable.

None of the advice is necessarily earth-shattering. If you're in grad school or academia, you'd probably figure this out on your own except of course that being so close to the action it's easy to forget the obvious thing to do. I think that's the appeal of sites like Flylady. So, for me, Academic Coach is Flylady for the mind.

Where'd the packing bars go? 

We've decided to put off our move across the megalopolis for 6 months. This should, at the least, make this semester a bit easier as I won't have to drive across the megalopolis for a 7.30a class.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Finding a shrink 

I've still not made the move towards finding a psychiatrist since making the resolution to do so last month. Part of it is doubtless because I'm not sure what I should do to select one. After all, it's not like I'm really inclined to ask friends and coworkers if they know a good psychiatrist. The best I fiure that I can do is to call each doctor's office and ask some questions about theoretical orientation (I'd definitely prefer a cognitive-behavioralist to a psychodynamicist, for example), but beyond that? I'm stumped.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Modest goals Thursday 

  1. Laundry
  2. Call insurance company
  3. Clean patio
  4. 1 section number theory

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Modest goals for Wednesday 

  1. Clean patio
  2. Clean wifemobile
  3. Syllabus
  4. 1 section of elliptic curves
  5. Make lasagna for dinner

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Modest goals for the day 

  1. Clean the front porch and perhaps the patio
  2. Cans and bottles to recycling
  3. 1 section of the complex analysis book
  4. Write up the syllabus for deposit with the department for my math for liberal arts class.

Update 22.11: Well, I didn't get to the patio, nor did I finish the syllabus, but I've made decent progress. I shall repeat this process for tomorrow.

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