Saturday, December 29, 2007

Weekend Update

With all my free time over break, I added/updated a couple past posts that I haven't had much time for. This includes some long lost posts from the Cook Islands that I didn't have the pictures for until now. Enjoy.

Hamsters in a Washing Machine (video added)
Any Given Sunday
Coconut King
Dinner with the Locals
I Like the Way You Move
More Raro Shots
Biggest Upset Ever
Fraction Workshops Beyond My Wildest Dreams
Big Game

Friday, December 28, 2007

Gray Christmas

Having not really been in Michigan very much in the past two years or so, there are a couple of characteristics that seemed to have slipped my mind. Thankfully, this break has reminded me.

Snow & Cold
So I didn't really forget that snow and cold existed, but the last time I really spent any time in a hat and gloves was on a glacier, so I'd say I've been a bit removed from the experience. I am not sad that I no longer live in a place where I have to bring fifteen extra articles of clothing (gloves, hat, scarf, etc.) just to leave the house.

I have been home for a week and half now, and have not once seen the sun. It is gray all the time. This could not be more opposite from my move to the Bay Area where it took over a month before I actually saw a cloud.

I've been wondering why my 50-minute commute between Palo Alto and San Francisco every day doesn't seem even half as bad as the half hour one I used to make between Ann Arbor and Novi. Making that old Michigan commute again the other night and almost getting run over as soon as I got on US-23 made it clear: I don't think there are semis on 280. Semis are obnoxious and scary and generally in the way, so a drive without them is inherently superior.

Smoking Indoors
Not to sound all I'm-so-much-better-now-that-I've-moved-to-the-big-city, but seriously? There are still places where they allow smoking in bars and restaurants? I'd definitely forgotten how gross it is to come back from a night out with my clothes and hair reeking like cigarette smoke, and it's definitely not something I was hoping to be reminded of.

But on the upside... I do love coming back to a place where everyone recycles their pop cans and marshmallow fluff is abundant.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Breathe Again

I just turned in the longest paper I've ever written--a 35 case study on one of my students. The case study was the last of my assignments for the quarter, so I can now say that I am officially halfway done with my STEP year.

I feel nauseous.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Big Game

Finally, a football Saturday that felt like a proper football Saturday. Stanford may not rally around football during most of the season, but it's only because they're spending that time preparing for the game against UC-Berkeley. The campus is seized by Big Game Fever in the week leading up to it. I wish that I didn't spend half of my days in San Francisco so I could have actually participated in some of the festivities.

Here, one of the fountains running cardinal red.

Unlike the rest of the season, people actually go to Big Game. This was the first game we had to arrive early for in order to get seats.

The game itself was pretty boring during the first half, to be honest. Once the sun went down, it got a little cold and I almost left.

But I'm glad I didn't leave. In the last quarter, things finally got exciting. It was touch and go for a little bit, wondering if Stanford might actually win. And then they did! This was highly unexpected. As great as the USC game was, it was pretty much a fluke. But what better year to spend my one and only year as a Stanford student?

So of course we had to join in the field rushing. We're such teachers, though, and everyone agreed that we should wait until most of the crowd was already on the field so that nobody would get hurt. It's all fun and games until someone gets trampled.

Down on the field, it was pretty much a lot of screaming and jumping around to the Stanford fight song, which I really love because it has a part where everyone screams "5, 6, 7, 8 Woo!" and jumps in the air.

Look how happy I am.

I will say I think it's pretty stupid that the whole event is just called "Big Game," not even "The Big Game." People say things like, "What time are you going to Big Game?" or "Big Game was so fun!" Really, all the minds at Stanford and Berkeley can't come up with a more creative name? Below, the leaning goal post is proof that Stanford students aren't really as smart as they think they are.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Fraction Workshops Beyond My Wildest Dreams

This weekend was the annual California Math Council Northern Regional Conference. Unlike the SCTA Conference, I attended this one with the goal and expectation of actually learning something. I know you're pretty jealous that I got to spend two days surrounded by middle aged white women talking about putting the fun back in math fundamentals, so I thought I'd share a few of the highlights.

Actually, you probably should be jealous because the location of the conference was fantastic. It was at the Asilomar conference center, right on the ocean just outside of Monterey. I really wasn't too upset when I couldn't get into one of the workshop sessions because this is what I got to do instead:

Here's a group shot of the math STEPpies. Not the most flattering picture ever, but I blame it on the gale force wind and blinding sun.

Now to get on to the true nerdiness, here is my favorite picture from the conference. Besides featuring our awesome yellow tote bags and ginormous name tags, it represents our celebrity encounter. Sandie Gilliam is an amazing teacher in Felton, and we watch videos of her all the time in our Curriculum & Instruction class. Being in her workshop was the math teacher equivalent attending a life-ruining workshop from Britney Spears--she knows what she's doing and appears to do it naturally and effortlessly. Of course after the lecture I insisted that we get a group photo with her, and I sheepishly told her how much we idolize her.

Maybe one day I can be a math celebrity too and innocent little master's students will post pics of me on their blogs...