Sunday, May 31, 2009


I have a nickname for our youngest daughter, Katherine: Zilla. This nickname evolved from a nickname given by my brother-in-law: Fluff. Fluff turned to Fluff-monster, which I changed to Fluff-zilla, which then later was shortened to Zilla.

This was more than a year ago, and now I've been seeing more and more people stealing her nickname!

For example, last night I caught this picture:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Email Down

If you sent me an email this weekend, I did not get it:
E-mail services for the campus will be migrated to K-State Zimbra starting at 6:00 pm Friday evening, May 29th and continue throughout the weekend. E-mail access will be restored to the campus Sunday evening, May 30th. E-mail services will not be available during this time.
P.S. Anyone else notice that May 30th is not Sunday?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Vacuously True

This post is for YOU! Ok, maybe not, but read it anyway! It seems to me that there are many people who lose perspective. They either get so wrapped up in the details, that they do not have a clear direction, or, they get so wrapped up about the destination, they do not do the things they need to do now. This post is going to mostly be about the latter.

I love analogies. I don't separate knowledge well, and thus concepts bleed over from one to another. Imagine you are making a trip. You are driving from Colorado to California. If, while you are driving, you simply focus on the destination, you will end up crashing your car. You need to be making local decisions---when to brake, when to turn, etc. You cannot simply be focused on your goal.

Something I often hear goes something like: "If I had X, then I would do Y!"--"If I was rich, I would buy a car." These people tend to make up all sorts of scenarios that currently depend on conditions that do not hold. They do this to the detriment of the decisions they actually have. Instead of focusing their effort on guiding themselves to their goal using the steering wheel of their car, they instead tell me how, if they had a teleporter, they would simply teleport there. You can see this with all the 'get rich quick' schemes that many people get involved with.

Coming up with these vacuously true statements lends toward a feeling of helplessness. "I cannot control my destiny, because all my conditionals are false." Instead of spending effort on these, one should focus on the things they do have control over, the decisions that they must make, and every time they make one, ensure that it is moving them on the way toward their goal.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Last week I was in Budapest, Hungary for a conference. I got home Sunday evening. Monday morning I started grading exams and continued grading until 2am on Tuesday morning. Finally, I went to bed around 2:30am---I simply could not stay awake any longer. In the night I had a dream that I was back in Budapest, and it was dark. Suddenly I woke from the dream, looking around I could not tell where I was. I sat up in bed and tried very hard to think back to how I got in whatever place I was. My brain would not budge. This was a frightening experience---not because I didn't know where I was, but because I could not get my brain to process it. Lisa finally came into the room 30 seconds later, and when she asked "what is wrong?" it finally loosened the stuck gears in my head. I fell back down, comforted that I could think.