stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I'm not good with faces.

Yesterday, a little before six, I headed over to Peck Hall for my Linear Algebra class. On arrival, I went to the elevator and punched the "Up" button. (It's on the third floor, the stairs are kind of steep, and my knees are not in good shape. I'm entitled.) As I waited, a young man joined me. When the car came, I stepped in, pushed the "3" button, and asked him what floor. He replied, "Same as you." This stopped me for a moment. Hmm, evidently this fellow has ridden up in the elevator with me several times this year. Aloud: "I'll try to remember that next time." At that point he informed me that he was one of my Linear Algebra students. I recognized him then, of course.

I'm really not good with faces.

Harvey

Aug. 27th, 2017 11:59 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Three comments concerning the flooding in Texas:

1) If you're donating, remember this. A donated blanket is a blanket. Donated food is food. Donated money is blankets, or food, or whatever else is needed. Verb. sap.

2) There will be reports of horrible savagery among those stranded by the storm. There always are. They will be wrong. They always are.

3) After Katrina, Mexico sent a convoy of army trucks with food and other supplies, and a navy ship with search vessels. This is the country the current occupant of the White House denounces as a criminal hellhole and a source of great evil for this country. I hope they will be as generous as before, despite this.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Well, summer's over, as far as the university's concerned. "Fall" Semester begins on Monday. I'll be teaching three courses: Introduction to Algebraic Structures (junior-level, basically the rudiments of group theory), Linear Algebra II (we finally get to the theoretical stuff), and Foundations for Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometry (which I teach pretty much every year - I think it's been given to someone else once in the last fifteen years). The first two, I haven't taught in quite a while, and the first one in particular is rough on students - it's notorious for resulting in bad-to-mediocre student evaluations. We'll see how it goes.

It was a bad summer for the canine contingent. First Gracie developed an ear infection, and I had to smear goop in her ear for a couple of weeks. Then Buster had an allergic reaction, probably flea-related, and started chewing on his right haunch and tail. Steroids and antibiotics seem to have resolved that one, so it was Gracie's turn again, with an eye infection that culminated in a crust over her entire right eye. The vet removed the crusting (G had to be sedated), and now I have to put ointment in both of Gracie's eyes twice a day. She doesn't like it, but has stopped fighting it. I just hope I'm getting it right. I'll be taking her in again Friday.

I had a lengthy to-do list, not much of which got done. I do have a new toilet in one bathroom and a new faucet for the sink in the other; I have a new bedside lamp, but the stand I bought to put it on came missing a few pieces, and the supplier is so far unresponsive; the fence has been repaired (that one wasn't on the to-do list!); and earlier this week I came up with a new technique for my polygons project, which will come in handy in the third and fourth papers in the sequence. Still need to write a new conclusion for the first paper and get it submitted.

The forecast for Monday in these parts is "partly cloudy". We're just outside the totality zone - 99.4%, I think - and the university has a bit of a gala set up for the afternoon, with eclipse glasses being provided and a couple of video screens. We'll see how it goes; my only class that day is at 6PM, so I'm free to join in the fun.

Life goes on, even amidst catastrophe.
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
The contractor just came by to look at the fence. Afterward, he suggested I should do some landscaping (which is also part of his business): "You've got this nice corner lot, and all you have is that one tree." I replied, "Used to have three, but the city took two of them. That one there was split by the ice storm back in '05."

After he left, I thought about what I'd said, and realized that all it needed was an "Ayup" and a touch of a drawl to raise the image of an old Yankee farmer....

Tempus fugit.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
This is a sculpture, in mammoth ivory, of a hedgehog. It is 40,000 years old - the oldest known sculpture of a hedgehog.

For some reason that makes me happy.

H/t to numerous people, but most immediately Dick King-Smith's twitter feed.
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
That's "on" meaning "pertaining to".

After I bought my house, twenty-some years ago, my next move was to acquire a dog. (That would be the late lamented Murphy.) In order to allow him outside time, I then had a fence erected around part of the back yard - a plain, unadorned picket fence.

I have to admit that I haven't taken good care of the fence - hammering in the occasional loose nail, no more than that. Just now, I glanced out the window and saw that the western segment of the fence had broken; one of the supports had leaned out of true, and the section of fence north of it had come loose and sagged inward. If Buster had noticed it, he would have had an easy route to freedom. I shut the access to the doggy doors and went outside to inspect it. Armed with no more than a hammer and a shim, I managed to get it realigned, but it's no more than a makeshift. Among other things, it puts increased strain on the already-misbehaving gate.

No help for it; I'll have to call in the pros to repair the fence ASAP (and hopefully get the gate working properly again). At least the excessive heat warning that's been in effect since Tuesday noon will expire this evening.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
... I bothered to re-activate my phone? Since I did so, two messages have been left, both of them the "Final Warning from the IRS" scam. (Also, numerous calls-w/o-message from Unavailable and from a couple of solicitors - both of those organizations I have given money to but do not wish to talk to.)

Oh, well. When Fall Semester rolls around, it will be useful again.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
The story begins with a grooming appointment.

Gracie had already had her trip to the groomer, and it was Buster's turn. I picked up the phone and punched in the groomer's number. There was a dial tone, the familiar sequence of tones, and... nothing. I tried again. I got the number of another groomer; no good.

It occurred to me that I didn't remember receiving any phone calls for several days. (I get lots of phone calls. "CALL FROM UNAVAILABLE". Hey, buddy, if you're unavailable so am I.). I e-mailed my brother and asked him to call me, and to e-mail me if he couldn't get through. Sure enough....

I handled the grooming appointment by walking to the nearest groomer - a bit more expensive than my usual, but much closer - and making the appointment in person. (Buster looks much better; they even managed a semblance of a puppy-cut.) I also made a vet appointment (Gracie had picked up an ear infection) by giving the data to my brother and having him call the vet.

I don't really use the phone all that much, and I am still a champion-class procrastinator, so my efforts to resolve the situation were desultory. I fiddled with the phone; no dice. I downloaded the manual for the phone, but found nothing useful. I bought another phone and plugged it in to another jack; no luck. I made a mental note to, somehow, contact AT&T.

"I should call the plumber about the phone isn't working"
"I need to make another vet appointment the phone isn't working"
:sigh:

This morning, I finally figured out how to contact AT&T, initiating an online chat. After about half an hour, most of it consumed by the usual trivia, I was told that I had the wrong agent, and she would transfer me to someone who could help. We went through the trivia again, and I was eventually told that this was the wrong office, and I should call ###-###-####. I pointed out that this was impossible, and was given a URL instead.

I copy-pasted the URL to the address bar. I spent a few minutes ticking boxes and filling in forms, and was told that they could not process my ticket.

I returned to the page I'd been at before, clicked on a different button, and began another chat. After another round of trivia, the agent suggested that I reset the modem. (My phone was not, and never had been, connected to the modem, but wotthehell....) This, of course, broke the connection. I waited a few minutes for computer, router, and modem to make nice, and restarted the chat. New agent. More trivia. "Is the phone connected to the wall jack, or to the modem?" The wall jack. "Plug it into the modem." This I did, and voilà, I had a working phone again. I thanked the agent, gave him top marks on the Customer Satisfaction form, and disconnected. (I made another couple of tests to make sure all was well, and it was.)

I went over to my other phone, which was connected to a wall jack; its screen now says "Check phone line". I'm assuming that AT&T has cut off all of my wall jacks except for the one dedicated to the modem. Not sure I'm happy about that, but also not sure I care enough to kick up a fuss.

Gotta call the plumber tomorrow.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I need to buy some new bedsheets.

According to various websites, the narrowest of the standard mattress sizes is 39", for the Twin and Twin XL.

My mattress is 36" wide. I also have two beds in the guest room, neither of which is as much as 39" wide.

I guess I'll have to go without a fitted sheet, instead going with two of the - would you call them topsheets? - sheets that go on top of the fitted sheet.

How recent is the current standardization? I bought my bed and its mattresses twenty-five or thirty years ago....
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Every so often I forget how much I hate the hiccups.

I always get reminded.

:hic:
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
After posting grades last Monday, I spent the rest of the week loafing. (Well, I had to reply to a few students asking why they got the grades they got....) No cooking - just frozen dinners, sandwiches, and cereal. No trips to campus - I did connect to my office computer a couple of times, mainly to look up the grade spreadsheets. It was too rainy, most of the week, to walk the dogs.

However, loaf time is over. I may not be teaching this summer, but I do have a lot of things to do. I have to get a new passport; as of midyear, TSA won't be accepting Illinois state IDs. I have to put the finishing touches on Taxonomy I and submit it, and begin writing TII and outlining TIII (and maybe TIV). There's lots of housework that needs doing. I'm recording my library on the latest version of my library DB (and there's been a story or two I should tell, in that connection). I'm contemplating revamping my finances database yet again. I should also prep for my fall classes; two of them are courses I haven't taught in a while.

There is a big pot of arroz con queso cooking away, for this week's dinners. I want to start using my new stock pot, and to try out some more Indian and Middle Eastern recipes. The dogs need grooming (this week!) and visits to the vet, preparatory to their badly-needed dental work.

I've drawn up a (still incomplete) To Do List. I've done that before. The trick now will be carrying it out.

Training

May. 9th, 2017 02:42 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Almost every time I go to Shop'n'Save, I take either a shoulder bag (for small purchases) or a big grocery bag box (for large ones). The cashiers there, as with most grocery stores nowadays, bag your purchases as they're rung up. I prefer that they not do this, since I carry the groceries home in bag or box. By now, most of the cashiers know this, and simply place my purchases on top of the bag carrel so that I can gather them up myself.

Today, though, the aisle I chose was manned by a rookie - a young man with that gangly just-out-of-school look - and I prepared to inform him of my preferences. Business was slow, and the cashier at the next aisle was lurking near his shoulder, her own aisle being empty. As he scanned the first of my items, I heard her murmur something to him. All I caught of it was "He...", but, unprompted by me, the young man placed the item on the carrel, and likewise with the remaining groceries. He announced the price, I handed him a twenty, and he gave me my change. Another murmur: "He'll want his receipt."

When he handed me the receipt, I thanked him. Then I looked over his shoulder and added, "And thank you, also." She grinned and nodded, and I took my leave.
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
Unfortunately, so are rhinoviruses. I won't be going in today. (I do still have to make a grocery run - the fridge is kind of empty.)

Fortunately, only one class (plus one appointment with a student, whom I have notified) is affected. I need to be better tomorrow - my stat class has a test on Friday, and tomorrow is a review session.

:coff coff:
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I've been wondering whether the snuffling I've been doing lately was an allergic reaction, triggered by the local pseudo-spring, or something else.

This morning, the question has been answered. I've sent a note to the secretary cancelling my classes for today.

:mutter, groan, snort:
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
This morning, as I was getting ready to leave for work, I was in the bathroom and noticed, out of the corner of my eye, something large and black outside the window. I looked over and saw...

TURKEYS! Five of the biggest turkeys I've ever seen, stalking across my yard and my neighbor's. After a few moments, they hurried across the (untrafficked) street and disappeared from my view.

I've seen the occasional turkey in the undeveloped land scattered across the university. Wottinell were they doing here?
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
With my desktop computer offline, my access to the 'net is confined to my laptop. This is OK, for most purposes, but typing in general and posting to LJ/DW in particular is significantly less convenient. At some point in the next couple of months, I'll be getting a new desktop, but until then my posts are likely to be short and sporadic. (Which is a shame, because I've got some medium-long things I'd like to say....)

Wise Words

Dec. 27th, 2016 01:06 pm
stoutfellow: (Winter)
“Don’t be sad that it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

- Vin Scully

:trying to smile:
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
"... the author, the work, and who the pronouns were."

I think I can make a guess as to what it means, but it set me on my heels for a few minutes.

Excitement

Dec. 1st, 2016 09:57 am
stoutfellow: (Three)
There is or was a bird in the house - a sparrow of some kind, with a slightly upturned beak (I think).

I have been trying to chivvy it out of the house. This involves putting the dogs out and closing the door through which they could return, and then opening the front door wide (in high-30s F weather...).

The door is currently closed; the dogs are inside and calm. This may mean that the bird did indeed slip out while I was looking for it elsewhere. But it may not; we have reached this state of affairs three times now.

Stupid bird.

Miscellany

Nov. 20th, 2016 07:59 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
1. A couple of weeks ago, my thermostat started misbehaving. I had it replaced last Thursday - just in time; we've been having subfreezing temperatures overnight the last few days, and NWS says that will continue for at least the next few.

2. For Thanksgiving dinner this year, I'm making a chicken curry. Haven't made curry in a long time.... I'm also going to try my hand at cheesecake, using a simple recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook. ([profile] coalboy, I'll try some of the recipes you sent me later, but for my first try I want as few complexities as possible.) I'm considering home-made bread (haven't made that in a long time either) as well, and I'll definitely go with salad-in-a-bag. (I've been using that to garnish my meat-and-cheese sandwiches lately, too.)

3. The new library database project is proceeding well; I have discovered the wonders of bound forms! For some reason I had an antipathy to them in my earlier projects, but they seemed necessary for a couple of the forms I needed for this one, and I've realized just how much they simplify things.

4. I still haven't finished the Taxonomy paper. There's not much I need to do, but I haven't had the oomph. Must get it done before the onrushing end of the semester!

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