Math Prof Rockstar

The occasional postings and ravings of a teacher, engineer, dad type guy.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New family home video

We're stars of stage and screen now. Video, if I'm technically savvy enough, should be embedded in this post:

Don't send a lame Starring You! eCard. Try JibJab Sendables!

Monday, December 31, 2007

New toys

We got a new widescreen LCD monitor, new speakers, and a new webcam for the playroom computer. Here's a test video I recorded directly on to YouTube. Not worth watching unless you are extremely bored. Oh, and after that is a video I took a year ago today.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Flock Yourself!

There's a new browser in the DNKI household. It's based on Firefox, so it's not completely new, but it's designed for today's on-the-go, blogging, youtubing, flickring, rss kind of kids.

It's called Flock, and is free at

I'm writing this blog entry using the blog editor that is built into flock. It's a basic WYSIWYG + source html editor, nothing too fancy, but easy to use, and easy to publish. It will publish to my Blogger blog as well as Vote Medford's site, which is a TypePad blog. Plus, it has built-in photo uploader for Flickr and Photobucket, a video uploader for YouTube, RSS and Atom feed reader, and all the Firefox goodies too. The interface is a nice, crisp blue + silver OS Xish motif. Nice stuff all around.

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Wow, the past 2 months flew by. The only reason I've got a couple of free neurons is that I was exhausted and sick this morning, so instead of teaching today I slept until noon, then drank three cups of coffee.

There was an interesting news story yesterday in the Seattle After-Thought Post-Intelligencer. Seems a Coyote trotted into a sub shop in Chicago. I was writing a quiz yesterday when Dr. Kate exclaimed "Did you hear? A coyote in Quiznos in downtown Chicago!"

Some strange connection went off in my head back to 1981, when I was a loyal subscriber to Omni Magazine, a science magazine published by Bob Guccione. The back page of this magazine had a contest every month. One of the contests I remember was "Future Bumper Stickers". I remember this because, a year later, one of my college roommates informed me she had been a winner that month, for the entry "The shortest distance between two points is under construction". That quip is still attributed to said roommate in quite a few Internet Quote databases.

My favorite of these contests was a "Double Dactyl" contest. I had not previously heard of double dactyls, but to this day I think they should be the predominate form of cleverly humorous short verse, rather than the highly popular yet inferior Limerick. If I recall correctly, the winning entry in that contest was

Alien Schmalien
Erich von Daniken
Tells of green spacemen
that come from afar.

Next he'll be telling us
landed in Dallas
to murder JR.

Now if that doesn't bring you back in time 28 years, you are probably too young to be reading this blog anyway.

But that brings me back to my original purpose for this entry. While the emphasis is on the wrong syllables, "coy O te in QUIZ nos in DOWN town chi CA go" just cried out to be turned into a dactyl. So I humbly submit the following;

Coyote in Quiznos
in Downtown Chicago.
A carnivore visits to
score a large sub.

"Roast beef is yummy, now
Add some jerk seasoning!
Tastes more like squirrel
-- ah yes, there's the rub."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Trek Across Maine

I will be riding my bike to raise money for the Maine Lung Association this year on Father's Day weekend. Since my own father died of lung cancer over 22 years ago, I have often thought about him while on my bike. Several times, I have taken a full day of Memorial Day weekend to ride the 55 mile round trip from my home to his gravestone and back.

If you have read the few posts to this blog recently, you know I have been trying to convince myself to ride more this year. Last week, as I was looking through a list of the 50 best bike rides, state by state, I found a link to the Trek Across Maine. Kate and I had actually met a couple who help organize this ride when we were bicycling around Southport Island near Boothbay, ME two summers ago. It seemed like a no-brainer for me to sign up.

So now, of course, I am looking for donations. Considering these people are running a three day ride with meals and accomodations at University of Maine Farmington and Colby College, the fundraising minimum is a remarkably small $450. But I want to raise at least $750. Please consider donating to this great cause through my personal fundraising page.

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New Year's Resolution Update

I haven't blogged in three weeks. Finally I am taking a few minutes to reflect on what I wrote on the 1st.

  1. Blogging more often: You can see how that is working out. I hope this entry is the start of a trend. Plus, I have a great reason to focus regular habits: I am now training! Which leads me to the next resolution.
  2. I have not walked to school or to work at all this year, nor have I biked to work so far. But that changes this week! It needs to change, because I am now signed up to ride 180 miles across Maine in 3 days in June. That is pretty early in the calendar for a major fund-raising ride, but as a teacher who is finished the day before this ride takes place, it will be a perfect time to finish raising funds for the ride. I will also need a couple days to re-set myself for the summer schedule. So, this week I resolve that:
    1. I will get my "teacher bike" fixed this week. It only needs a new crank, and will be as good as new.
    2. Next time I have some daylight when it is above freezing, I will put my newly rebuilt rear shock back on my recumbent.
    3. I plan to drop Lance, my Cannondale, off at the local shop this week for a wheel rebuild and for new brakes.
  3. My daily routines have failed to materialize this January. I'm as bad as ever. But I will have to have some patterns in place if I am to successfully finish teaching, take the classes I would like to take, and train for the big ride.
  4. I have had the most success with the "No HFCS" resolution. I have only had 2 HFCS sodas all month, plus some Mexican soda sweetened primarily with sugar. Even the cranberry juice drinks I have had recently have been sweetened with apple juice instead of sugar, corn syrup, or HFCS.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Resolutions?

Now, I thought a resolution was the closing of something, something resolving to a settled state. So it seems a bit odd to start each year with resolutions. But it's a tradition, and I'm feeling that I need a new beginning now more than ever. So here goes:
  1. I resolve to blog more often. Not that anyone in their right mind believes me; not that anyone ever reads my blog. But still, I need regular quiet reflection on the "State of Dave". So blogging is as good a way as any to do this. Beats playing more Internet Spades!
  2. I resolve to bike and walk more often, only driving when there is a significant reason to do so. There's no need for most of the little car trips I make around town. The van should be for long trips, groceries, and taking the kids longer distances.
  3. I resolve to stick to basic daily routines. I need to keep on top of a lot of little things that I generally ignore. These are things that I could be doing "automatically" by just starting up and sticking with some basic routines. I already have these written up in accordance with the Flylady's Household Control Journal system. I just have to start using my journal. Every darned day.
  4. Oh, and I'm not going to pretend that I'm actually going to start dieting, but there is a relatively simple measure that I resolve to take on: I resolve to cut High Fructose Corn Syrup nearly out of my diet. I can't say that I might not suck down some Gatorade if I'm on a long bike ride on a warm day, but generally I want to avoid sodas and candies made with ADM's horrid HFCS. Nasty evil stuff, I'm telling you.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Making motivational posters


I've found a site that allows you to create your own motivational posters. I am just posting this picture on my blog so that it will be on the internet, then I'll be putting it into a poster. I'll try to remember to blog the poster when it's done. For now, I just want to say this was taken at my brother's 50th birthday party. I love the way DS1 is emerging from beneath the surface of the pool. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 18, 2006

New tools

In researching methods of building Diet Coke / Mentos fountains, I came across a new web site called tabblo (Get it? Tableau? It's oh so newspeak). This is a nice little Web 2.0 toy that allows people to generate and share posters. Not "posters", as in people who post things to blogs; "posters" as in things you hang on a wall. The posters, or tabblos are wicked easy to create. You pick some photos, pick a layout template, change some colors, add some text, and voila, you have a tabblo.

Pretty neat if you ask me.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Partially Sage

Pandagon reports on Tom DeLay's visit to the "Values Voters / War On Christians" conference. Apparently DeLay was portrayed at the conference as someone who has been crucified by the Left simply because he is a Big C Christian.

I'm a long time Internet-er, but I'm fairly new to blogging. I might be breaking some Secret Code of the Bloggers or something, but I was so proud of a comment I made over at Pandagon that I just had to repeat it here.

Are you going to Scarborough’s fair?
Don’t DeLay, Hail Mary on time,
Remember Tom, hands folded in prayer,
“Jesus was a true love of mine”.

Tell him to make me donations aplenty.
Don’t DeLay, deliver on time.
Without no trace of five, ten, or twenty.
Then he’ll be a true friend of mine.

Tell them to partition the Lone Star in segments,
Don’t DeLay, and please vote on time.
Without no seats with Democrat intents,
Then they’ll get attention of mine.

Tell him to fend off each leftie attack.
Don’t DeLay, toe our party line.
Lead with the charge that “they don’t know Jack”
Then, he’ll be avoiding hard time….

Monday, March 27, 2006

New sounds on the web

Spamradio: Computer generated music while a computer reads spam as it arrives at the spamradio computer.

Ractor meets the Experimental Music Studio: Slashdot reports, in the form of a putrid buzzword stew, that some media artists have created "babelcast-zoetrope". It's a computer-generated steaming pile of news audio clips combined with "video" snapshots of famous folks. Not particularly useful, but the derisive response of the slashdot community to the story being posted there is fun to read.

What is it again that those Glaucoma patients take? Found this one through RocketBoom. Check out the Association of International Glaucoma Societies. You need the sound on to hear the Glaucoma hymn. Also keep an eye on the guys in the upper left hand corner.

But stamps are supposed to have flags on them!

I found a rather nifty web site called Zazzle the other day. It's a lot like Cafe Press, which I've known about for many years, but with a few different twists. It's possible now to print custom stamps if you have the right software and you bother to buy the right kind of stickers to print them on, so Zazzle decided to offer people the ability to design stamps on their website. You can not only design custom stamps and have them print them out and mail them to you, you can even put your stamps in a Zazzle "Gallery" that other people can see and buy from. You get a commission if people buy your stamp designs. Zazzle also lets you design and sell Tshirts, mugs, etc, using the same general system.

Just one thing about stamps; they won't accept stamps that fall under several banned categories -- like, for example, no convict's pictures allowed. No swearing. No nudity.

So, I submit two designs and try to publish them as the first products in my gallery:

Patriot Act? stamp
A Patriot Acts stamp

I got a rejection letter from Zazzle for each of these designs. The form letter follows:

Dear dgadams,

We are sorry to inform you that we are unable to approve your ZazzleStamp 'Flag Gag Stamp' for display in the Zazzle gallery. Your stamp design may not be published or purchased.

Because ZazzleStamps are real United States postage, they are subject to special governmental content restrictions, detailed here.

You can easily create a new stamp and publish it to fit within the allowed guidelines. Click here to start a new stamp design.

The details of the inappropriate product is listed here:

The following Zazzle stamp could not be approved:

  • Product Title: Flag Gag Stamp
  • Product Type: Stamp
  • Product ID: 172757134234214725
  • Contributor: dgadams
  • Result: Not Approved
  • Policy Violations:
    • Incorporates material that might express or imply ideological, economic, or other views not generally accepted as in the public interest.

Okay, so my Dear Son, at age 8, was already creating material that is viewed as "Not in the public interest"? Rock on!