austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Let all our troubles be forgotten, let college spirit rule

It wasn't a Homecoming weekend, in that there aren't any particular college teams that have gone anywhere from which they would return to play a Division III-C team, but it was certainly in that spirit. For the most part it was the chance to hand out tokens of appreciation to alumni, then go to a buffet-style lunch with a lot of desserts. Mostly it turned into a chance for me to dress in grownup clothing (the invitations said ``smart casual, tie optional''), and to have the Dean and Vice-Dean recognize me and say they were glad to see me. While that's a hopeful sign it's also something they could say generically; I started talking to the Vice-Dean, but then there was some problem with the catering in the satellite location and he had to go deal with that.

Mostly I ended up making intense small talk with someone I didn't know, but who's in the department I expect to find myself in next year. I'm getting better-connected in general, although not so much with the people who can hire me. Still, that sort of open-ended small talk does get tiring; I ended up retreating to my office after the conversation and spending a few hours there. Part of that was getting done writing an official answer key for one of my classes; I'm rather relieved to find that the assignment, which I thought was long but not excessively so (it had to cover many topics) didn't take me that long to do, and I got it right. Better, I did it with some slick programming, and a few neat logical tricks, that I can thus show off to my students.

Trivia: The Space Shuttle forward nose gear tires have a maximum allowable landing speed of 217 knots. Source: Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System, Dennis R Jenkins.

Currently Reading: Squaring the Circle and other Monographs, EW Hobson, HP Hudson, AN Singh, AB Kempe. It's a collection of mathematical essays, something I don't read much for recreation. They're all essays on straightedge-and-compass constructions, as the title may suggest. The last is rather engagingly titled ``How To Draw A Straight Line,'' which seems like it should be Goofy's answer to Donald Duck's Donald in Mathmagic Land, and wouldn't you like to see that?

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