Buried deep enough I’ve got sand in my mouth

I’m not dead, just swamped. It might get better. Please?

Green, Yellow, Red
Creative Commons License photo credit: brianwallace
Three different not-in-Morris people were kind enough to ask today in one form or another if I was dead. To quote one

All OK? You’ve been soooooo quiet.

Many, many thanks for asking. It’s nice to be missed :-).

And yes, all the big things are OK, even if some of the details are a little stressful at the moment.

My wife and son are still amazing people, UMM is still home to some incredibly cool folks at all levels, and institutional corn dogs at the Student Activities Fair remain one of my favorite start-of-the-school-year rituals.

On the other hand, I’m still scrambling with some school stuff like syllabi and planning — I’m seriously crap at almost all of the mechanics of teaching, which makes my career choice unfortunate at times. (At least I like my job, though, which puts me way ahead of lots of folks.)

Computer Science at UMM is also really swamped because a search failed and we’ve got 3 faculty doing what 5 faculty (actually 6 people, two of which were half time) were doing four months ago. We canceled a couple of things, and moved a few other things around, so I think it will all work out fine, but it’s a challenge.

And on top of that, it turns out that I have arthritis in my neck that is causing my vertebrae to poke at my spinal cord in ways that express themselves annoyingly in my left arm. I got a steroid shot in my neck last week up in Fergus Falls that was (I think) helping. Unfortunately I pulled an almost-all-nighter night before last doing course prep, and may have undone much of that progress. Damn. It would be useful if I remembered that I’m no longer 18 at key moments… On the neat side, though, I’ve got the MRI images, so I have lots of cool pictures of my spine which I can give to Len Keeler‘s physics course on medical imaging. So there will be a bunch of physics students marveling at what a complete mess my back is, and getting college credit for their trouble!

So in short, everything big is all still fine. Some of the details are a pain, however, and that tends to draw energy from all the “optional” pieces of my life (blogging, Flickr, people who aren’t standing in my office door looking confused or unhappy or just glad to see me again). Hence a fair amount of Twitter, but very little that moves any closer to the paragraph form.

Sorry, and thanks for asking. Hopefully things will settle down in the next week or two. If you can’t find me in my office, I might be taking a nap on the couch in the computer science lounge.

The rowdy folks at the back of the bus

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Never underestimate the stupidity of stupid people

While I’ve been utterly swamped with Jess’s visit (here and there), preparing for EuroGP and the book release, and various random deadlines, life has (strangely enough) continued around me.

Included in this mêlée of activity is the crazy news that PeeZed got expelled from Expelled. This is (by numerous accounts) a fairly dreadful film about how hard done by those poor ID folks are, and how mean and nasty those icky evolutionists are. Waa. Both PeeZed and Richard Dawkins were interviewed for the film under false pretenses, and get non-trivial screen time. There was a free pre-screening of the film in the Cities last night, which conveniently (and I think accidentally?) coincided with a major atheist meeting in the Cities. So PeeZed and various of his family and friends including Dawkins(!) all trouped off to check it out.

The wonderful kicker is that one of the producers

  • Recognized PeeZed in line,
  • Had PeeZed expelled,
  • Failed to recognize Dawkins (or any others in his group)

Saw Dawkins got to see the movie, but Paul had to hang out in the mall waiting for them to get out! The Mall of America (where all this happened) is big, but I’m not sure it’s big enough to hold that much irony.

There’s loads o’ blogging on the subject; PeeZed is collecting and sharing links (here, there, and elsewhere, plus his post from the Apple Store during the film). Quite happily, it’s also being reported for the fiasco that it is in the mainstream press (e.g., Pioneer Press and the NY Times).

Thanks to Dan Flies for sending me an e-mail about all this. I really had missed it all, so having the direct pointer was a Good Thing.

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