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

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thank you for sharing 

Another comment on an old post (not particularly interested in figuring out what this one is commenting on. To save you the trouble of following the link:
Bad teachers are those who say they are going to a workshop on friday, but are really going to a football game! Of all the subjects the math teacher is the worst. She: sings, clowns around, doesn't teach a lesson & gives a test, fusses a lot of, & types her night school paper instead of teaching the class.

Open question 

Is it my limited social skills or is the T.A. that I share a desk with a passive-aggressive assclown?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Counting down 

I've got 5 classes of algebra (2 sections) left, and 3 classes of math for liberal arts majors (2 sections) left. That's 22 hours of teaching to go. Except that 6 of that is tests and 10 is review days so there's really only 6 hours of stand in front of the class teaching remaining. And the finals. But my plan is to tell the math for liberal arts majors students, when they show up on the final day, that if they're happy with their grade, they can skip the final. For the algebra kids, there's structure in place that should eliminate the top fifth and bottom third of the class from taking the final (because they've demonstrated that they know the material, or because they've demonstrated that it's mathematically impossible for them to pass).

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

And then I stopped dead still 

I've got old bookmarks on the desktop mac while the laptop's in service, so I was reading Ms Frizzle. I got to the end of the fifth paragraph of this post and I found myself unable to move, I was so shocked.

If I ever have a building custom-bulit, I want all dimensions specified in metric. (Which will make all the IKEA furniture fit much better too.)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Bang, part II 

Not the car this time. The computer.

The good news is that the hard drive is apparently safe. The computer was disassembled and reassembled and appeared to work fine until last night when it repeated its Wednesday night preformance and I was without a working computer. A bit of experimentation has revealed that it works fine from an external hard drive but the internal drive is invisible. So no computer for me. I'm hoping to have it back by Wednesday so I can have it over the long weekend. That would be a good thing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

No, that's my wife 

She's the one who eats second breakfast and all...


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

Things that make me smile 

One of our neighbors recently bought a HUGE SUV. It's taller than I am (and I'm over 6 feet).

Last week, they apparently parked it under the wrong tree because it was covered with bird excrement. There's something wonderful about a brand new car (less than a week old), turned from black to white by the collective disapproval of a few dozen birds.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My GOD this is nerdy 

In other news, I found an error in a Springer textbook (not a typo, but an honest to goodness factual error), which managed to make it past at least 2 sets of errata. (In case you're wondering, the author had incorrectly written that if R is a subring of S, R must contain the (multiplicative) identity of S. Even allowing for the definition of a ring which requires a multiplicative identity, this is not quite correct. I guess no one ever closely read the background chapter before me.)

Update: Apparently this is a common requirement amongst commutative algebra types. In a ring R of characteristic 0, in fact, the only possible multiplicative identity for a subring is the identity of the parent ring.

If I were a Springer-Verlag Graduate Text in Mathematics, I would be Robin Hartshorne's Algebraic Geometry.

My creator studied algebraic geometry with Oscar Zariski and David Mumford at Harvard, and with J.-P. Serre and A. Grothendieck in Paris. After receiving his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1963, he became a Junior Fellow at Harvard, then taught there for several years. In 1972 he moved to California where he is now Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. My siblings include "Residues and Duality" (1966), "Foundations of Projective Geometry (1968), "Ample Subvarieties of Algebraic Varieties" (1970), and numerous research titles. My creator's current research interest is the geometry of projective varieties and vector bundles. He has been a visiting professor at the College de France and at Kyoto University, where he gave lectures in French and in Japanese, respectively.

My creator is married to Edie Churchill, educator and psychotherapist, and has two human sons and one daughter. He has travelled widely, speaks several foreign languages, and is an experienced mountain climber. He is also an accomplished musician, playing flute, piano, and traditional Japanese music on the shakuhachi.

Which Springer GTM would you be? The Springer GTM Test

Monday, November 14, 2005

I get some of the most interesting comments 

Here (check the comments) and here (straight to comments, can't find the original post).

It's a pretty easy guess what their search terms were. I just wonder whether they actually expect a response from those posts.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Adventures at Trader Joe's 

We stopped at TJs last night and stocked up on stuff. My wife had really wanted Chickenless Nuggets, but they were sold out, so we bought the Chicken Drumlets instead. As long as it tastes like soy that tastes like chicken, it's all good.

For lunch today we tried the TJs Chicken Perogis. My wife didn't care too much for them (she felt that the meat filling was kind of sausage-like), but I thought they tasted pretty good. Unfortunately, the preparation is a bit more involved than I want for frozen/packaged food: You have to boil them and then fry them. For that much effort, we may as well make something real.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Friday Random 10 

Once again, two in a row from the same album. Plus a double on Kevin Gilbert.
  1. "Danarae," Kevin Gilbert, Point Blank
  2. "Tunnel Vision," Random Hold, The View From Here
  3. "Circling Winds," Kevin Gilbert, Decent Exposure
  4. "Radical," Catie Curtis, Live At The World Cafe - Vol. 4 (fifth anniversary)
  5. "Wang Dang Doodle," Koko Taylor, ONXRT Live From The Archives, Vol. 3
  6. "In Your Eyes," Brown Derbies, Best of College A Capella
  7. "How You Remember," Solarcade, Aliens and Angels
  8. "Mna Na h-Eireann," Kate Bush, Common Ground
  9. "Reunion," Indigo Girls, KSCA Live From The Music Hall, Vol 2
  10. "Spark," Wild Colonials, KSCA Live From The Music Hall, Vol 2

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Seen on campus today 

A Hare Krishna listening to music on an iPod.

I wonder what's in his playlist.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Car update 

The good news: My car isn't totaled and I will get it back.

The bad news: I won't get it back until December 9th at the earliest.

Second algebra mid-term 

Another relatively easy test. Or at least, I've got a good sense that I did very well on the test. And unlike the complex midterm, I know enough to be secure in my judgment.

Of course there was another dumb mistake. In this case, I had (123)=(12)(13) rather than (123)=(13)(12).

Amusing sign on campus 

The bookstore is advertising that it's "Native American Indian Month".

Monday, November 07, 2005

PhD external funding 

Last year about this time someone mentioned a source of Math/Sci PhD funding (NSF maybe?) and even gave me a link to it. Unfortunately, it appears that old comments get purged from HaloScan so I no longer have the info. Can someone supply me with this? I figure that while I'd be applying next fall, it would be a good idea to make sure that I spend the next year being a good candidate for this. (I wouldn't accept a slot at a program where I wasn't funded to begin with, but coming in with funding may help me make the difference between marginal and accepted and it would be nice to have some time where I don't have to teach and study at the same time).

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Calling all science teachers 

So my wife goes to the freezer to get me some ice for a glass of water and we find the ice cube pictured at the left. We're completely mystified as to how this happened. It certainly wasn't intentional, nor is their any water to leak onto the ice tray from above. Any suggestions to explain this mysterious phenomenon?

And my wife wanted to make sure that people know that in the bottom picture, the ice cube was already starting to melt which is why it looks a bit different. They are the same ice cube in both pictures.

A visit to the doctor 

Yesterday, my wife insisted that I go to the doctor in the aftermath of the car accident. I wasn't sure whether the headaches were real or were a consequence of continual questions about whether I had headaches.

The doctor had one of the worst bed-side manners I've ever encountered. Not to mention all the forms to be filled out.

The X-ray tech didn't offer me the lead apron.

But the bottom line is that I'm not going to die of some brain injury because, apparently, I have no brain injury.

My life gets a D 

But at least I do have one A. Thanks to One Bright Star for the link.
This Is My Life, Rated
Life: 6.7
Mind: 6.4
Body: 6.4
Spirit: 6.4
Friends/Family: 5.8
Love: 9.1
Finance: 6.8
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday Random 10 

If it's truly random then this will happen edition.
  1. "I Shall Be Released [Live]," U2/Sting/Peter Gabriel,
  2. "Punta Patri," California Guitar Trio, Invitation
  3. "Camera One," Josh Joplin Group, Useful Music
  4. "Welcome to Suburbia," NRG, No Reasons Given
  5. "That's Right," Sirius, Running In Circles
  6. "Mr. Boilermaker," Sirius, Running In Circles
  7. "Lush Life," Billy Strayhorn, Lush Life
  8. "Air," Jason Becker, Perpetual Burn
  9. "Perspective," Peter Gabriel, Stonybrook (Live)
  10. "The Musical Box," Genesis, Burp 26 (Disc 1)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I got in a car accident today. My car is in some bad shape having gotten hit pretty hard by the other driver. The police have informed me that although I was not doing anything too awful and the other driver was speeding, the state vehicle code says that I'm the one at fault. Looks like it's going to be traffic school for me. Meanwhile there's all kinds of difficulty dealing with the fact that my wife and I are down to one car for at least a week or so. The car rental places were closed for the evening and I need to get out before the car rental places are open in the morning, as does my wife. And while the car doesn't look good, I'm ok. We did discover that the roll-over pop-ups do in fact pop up (even though I didn't roll over) and the car automatically turns on the hazard lights when it's hit.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's novel writing month 

OR so Dr Crazy says. I've got one started. I gather the objective is 50,000 words in November. That ends up being about 1700 words per day, which is more than I've written total. I guess I'd best get cracking. I've updated the progress bar at right to have a highlight for the November goal (most of those are actually goals for where I'd like to be by the end of the semester, and most will not be met. Can you tell I'm making no progress in finding my keys. Or in starting to find my keys?

Car trouble... 

... of the stupidest sort: Viz, I can't find my keys. So I called in sick for my 7.30a class and I'm [thinking about] cleaning the apartment so that I can find my keys.

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