Monday, September 27, 2010

Now with Hover Capabilities!

When I started my blog up two years ago, I only knew of one domain registrar.  This domain registrar has a little bit of a history of being heavy on the upsell while making it difficult to do much with the domains you already own.  Now, especially since they recently went up for sale, I decided it was a good time to switch to a new registrar.

For those interested, the original address for this blog was, however I wanted it to just be  A registrar lets me choose a custom domain name and make it point to the blog here. 

So this weekend I signed up with - a registrar that has been heavily plugged on my favorite podcasts, This Week in Tech & Macbreak Weekly.  They make everything ridiculously easy and are considerably less expensive compared to my old registrar.  I also thought the blog could do with a facelift; I wasn't really happy the way it looked after I changed it over summer.  The new three panel layout works a bit better for wider screens, and I like keeping the focus on the post text and my twitter feed on the left with the archive links on the right (I just need to get good photo of me somewhere near the top and out of the way).
 Let me know what you think in the comments!

You might also wonder what the box at the top right of the page is.
A QR code is a newer style barcode that can be read by smartphones and other scanners.  This particular QR code will send a reader to the website:, my new splashpage and portal to all things me.

So that's what's been going on with my blog this weekend.  Hopefully I'll get some new photos and posts up soon.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A late note

The semester has started up at work and my two classes have gotten off and running.  I'm teaching Calculus and Algebra 2 and so far I'm having a good time in both classes.

I was asked the other day how I can stand to be their teacher (the algebra 2 kids).  Today I was explaining a concept for the umpteenth time and one of them said "now I get it".   Those words keep me going.  To see the look on someone's face when the puzzle comes together and the answer makes sense.  Or alleviating the dread of taking a test because I reassure that they're using the correct methods.  Sure, it's hard work and I push them to do more; to pay attention and take notes and answer my questions asking them just to take guesses while I hope that they're developing intuition about these topics.  I work hard to think of ways to explain a topic six ways to Sunday.  Sometimes they'll get the idea right away; other times I just have to keep showing them again and again.  But it's the "now I get it"'s and the questions that make me think about the answer; questions that test my understanding or that apply concepts beyond what we're learning.  Indicators that what I'm saying is not only sticking, but inspiring original thought.

I hope that as this semester progresses I can get every student to be involved and find an enjoyment of their subject.  If they enjoy themselves, the grades go up.  I try to keep my classes interesting and not too dense by injecting humor, or anecdotes, or just engaging the students in conversation.  The calculus classes most often lead to interesting discussions.  We talk about college a lot when I teach calc.  Everyone has questions and not that I have every answer, but I try to give them perspective on what they might encounter.  Values of working hard, asking questions, keeping on top of assignments, and being true to themselves.

Mostly though, I'm just happy that what I have to share is well received and that I am taken seriously when I teach.  I have respectful students who are trying hard and showing that they care about their work just as I do.  I feel like I've been living and breathing this stuff for years, and while I don't need them to be that into math, at least come away from the class with a "gee, that was actually pretty interesting, I wonder what else there is to learn?" attitude.  If nothing else, if I can inspire my own desire to continue learning and how much importance I place on education, I feel like I've succeeded.  Not that a high class average bothers me at all either.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What's in the bag?

I bought this bag about 4 years ago from the Chrome store in San Francisco.  It's called the Chrome Mini-Metro and has pretty much been everywhere with me since then.  Easily one of my cornerstone possessions, unfortunately its time is coming to an end.

By the end of college, this bag was beginning to feel a little cramped, especially when I had a binder or two and my netbook.  With the advent of my iPad, the load is definitely lessened some, but I'm still finding it hard to cram my regular gear in with the binders I need for teaching.  While on that topic, take a look at my daily gear; the iPad camera kit to transfer photos on the fly from my camera & even iphone; an iPhone charger, Zagg Z.Buds, a cleaning cloth, my trusty TI-89 calculator, some dry erase markers, my green laser (you never know...), an ink refill for my pen, red pens for grading, a duracell backup battery, iPhone cable, 4GB flash drive, aux stereo cable & RCA adapter, bluetooth headset, swiss army knife, and of course, my iPad.

Settling in

A few years ago I learned about the Settlers of Catan board game from one of my weekly podcasts; The Totally Rad Show.  Since then I have purchased the game, received add-on packs and expansions, and played at least a hundred games (or so it seems).  Often my dad and I will play a few times per week.  Now, the game has been shown on here before, but I've collected many of the pictures that I take of our finished boards (whether I win or lose) and thought the compilation looks fun.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

634 Photos

Nearly every photo I've ever posted on this blog in one place (some couldn't get saved...)

Monday, September 6, 2010

2 Years!

The very first posts on this blog were made on September 3, 2008.

Since then I've posted hundreds of photos, chronicled my adventures both large and small, and mused about all manner of topics.

So many things change in two years:
Two years ago I was starting my last semester in college; this year I'm starting my second year of teaching.
Two years ago I was shooting 90% of my photos with a cell phone; this year I've taken my Lumix with me across the country.
Two years ago I thought I'd be working at USF's IT department by now; this year I'm starting a Masters of Education program.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ponyo means squishy

I watched Ponyo last night (and again this afternoon, my mom wanted to see it).

The movie is Hayao Miyazaki's adaptation of "The Little Mermaid" but much better than the Disney version.  No evil; just a little fish-girl who wants to be human so she can play with the little boy and a bit of don't-mess-up-the-ocean story.  Really cute and well acted (lots of big-name celebrities doing the voice overs) and much much nicer than Ariel & Prince Eric.  I think it's probably a lot friendlier to little kids than the Disney version too.  Miyazaki's other works include "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away"

Ponyo is a Japanese colloquial term and onomatopoeia for what something soft and squishy feels/sounds like.

Helicopter Dropping Water

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Another picture from yesterday's brushfire

Just thought I'd share this one picture from yesterday's fire.  This photo was take as the helicopters battled the blaze as it moved along the ridge; I believe this was as close to nearby homes as the flames came, probably only a few hundred feet away.

Here's a link to some info about the fire, apparently 200 firefighters were working on the area until after 8pm last night.

Another link from the LA Times says that the fire was started by a 14 year old smoking marijuana when he dropped his lighter in the brush.