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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

English Teachers Think I'm Weird

Today in the Learning Support Center (the Holding Pen of Academic Purgatory - Keep Your Grades Up, Kid, or You Will Be Spending Your Lunch Period in Here) I got a leeeettle excited about a factoring problem. Precalc factoring always kind of scares and thrills me because sometimes I look at it and don't immediately see what to do. So this one was something like


and I won't spoil your fun, but when I got it, I let out a yelp and probably clapped my hands a little. The kid I was helping was mildly amused by my behavior, but this English teacher sitting at our table gave me this You Are So Weird look that really threw me. Whatever, dude. You wouldn't understand. I can read and write, but you probably walk around bragging about how you can't do math. Go back to your analyzing Camus for universal themes or whatever you were doing before I annoyed you with all the joy. (Edit: In hindsight, those last two sentences seem unnecessarily mean-spirited. Sorry, I didn't mean it that way.)

I probably should make this a separate post because it's going to get lost down here, but what are you all doing with your summer? Since applications are due for various summer things this week, and I haven't started them, I'm thinking that maybe I need a summer of not overscheduling myself such that in September it feels like I didn't have a break from work like I always do. I'd say "a summer of not thinking about math or teaching it" but I'm not kidding myself, that would be impossible at this point. I've been thinking about potential non-career related projects, such as

1. Learning How to Cook Meat and Fish. (Not learning how to cook - I can make lots of perfectly wonderful meals, and know enough to improvise - but was a sporadic mostly-vegetarian for ages so my milieu is veggies, grains, eggs, and sauces.) I might have to move temporarily to my parents' house for this, as they have better air conditioning and better equipment, and roasting and braising for one sounds both difficult and depressing.

2. Learning How to Bake Impressive Things like cheesecake and pie crusts.

Either of these could take on an edited Julie&Julia format where I just make something every day I don't already know how to make. Is there a canonical baking cookbook? Or maybe I will endeavor to become Alton Brown-like in my obsession over something bizarre like homemade pickles.

3. Going to Yoga/Meditation Camp for Grownups. There is a place I've been for a few days at a time, it's legit, not too woo-woo-make-a-donation, and they have a 30-day residential deal. Or alternatively maybe just stay home and Get Serious and Do It Every Day.

4. Take up some kind of other creative endeavor in a focused way, such as drawing or photography or picking up my violin for the first time in several years. At one time I was not-terrible at all of those things. I miss them.

I'm open to suggestions and interested in what other people do with their summers. I need a plan, or it's going to turn into the lost summer of ditzing around on the Internet.