Friday, August 31, 2007

school has started again

so, my fourth year of grad school has begun. you would think I've gotten smarter over all this time, but apparently I have not. this is because I've decided it would be hilarious if I took four classes this semester. I only have to take three, but apparently I hate free time. I guess it's not too late to drop one of them, but then I will have to take it in the spring and for some reason that sounds like a bad idea. so here's what's on my plate: seminar (required and possibly boring, not sure yet), cognition in science learning (should be interesting, lots of reading), science education research (reading the current handbook, craploads of reading - the book is 1300 pages), and multiple regression stats (possibly not a lot of work, maybe not too hard). on top of that, I am doing 20 hours of research each week and sort-of TA-ing a class (but I'm mostly doing stuff with the class website so it's not too bad).

the research I'm working on is still really interesting and we are getting some unexpected results, so that's great.

I also got a new (old) bike. it kicks ass. wayy better than the old bike (which is also cursed).

I am currently in LA and going to Carpinteria beach (up near Santa Barbara) tomorrow for the weekend to see my extended family. I will be laying on the beach doing as little as possible until Monday. :) ooh, I also saw Wicked last night with Marla. it was great! (but totally different than the book.)

pictures from the weekend trip to Ridgecrest to see James are posted here along with some older pictures from a camping/rock climbing trip we took like two years ago.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

physics and stuff

so I spent all last week in Greensboro, North Carolina for the AAPT summer meeting/conference (that's the American Association of Physics Teachers). all in all it was a good week. very tiring (as always), but there were lots of interesting talks and posters and people and coffee breaks to keep the brain switched on. whomever's bright idea it was to schedule things from 8am to 10:30pm should be hit with something heavy.

we got off to a bad start on Sunday when my second flight (out of Dallas) got delayed about three and a half hours because of some rain storms. I should point out that we spent the better part of that three and a half hours cooped up on the plane on the runway. ugh. anyway, we finally got there and checked into the dorms at UNC-G which were actually pretty craptastic. having the bathroom down the hall was not such a big deal, but the mattresses were ridiculous awful (which made the six hours of precious sleep time we did have not as productive as they could have been). also, there was some dumb thing where you couldn't access the wireless internet in your rooms, but had to go downstairs. dumb.

one thing that made everything better on monday was the plenary by Neil deGrasse Tyson. because he's so awesome. he talked for almost two hours (instead of the one he was schedule for) because he was so awesome and no one wanted him to leave. seriously.

things progressed well the rest of the week. I got to hang out with Brian and all of the wonderful people I only see once a year at this thing. I presented a poster on the research I did for my masters thesis and everyone seemed to like it and think it was interesting. especially one professor in particular and his opinion means a lot. so that's cool.

I also got some free magnets. which is always nice. they make a cool noise when you toss them at each other. and on the way back home (as if to make up for the delay on the way there) I was able to catch two earlier flights back so I got back home at 6pm instead of 10pm. sweet. I was also able to read an entire non-school book this week (entirely on the planes and in the airports): Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. it was amazing. that's all I'm going to say about it.

in other news, we have two weeks until the semester starts. I got one of my "textbooks" in the mail today (it's the new handbook of research on science education) and it's huge. seriously. I will be reading nonstop all semester.