Monday, November 20, 2006

Unexpected Graces

The Lord knows how to plan, is all I know. I'm back at my alma mater for a brief stint. I've noticed that they've repainted the PAC walls, expanded Baldwin, and added a bakery. Plus there's 3/4 of a new building in front of the Science Hall! Other than that...

But I'm not here to write about architecture. What I really want to praise God for is that I saw Megan today. She's in med school in Chicago, but she has Thanksgiving week off, as well! What are the odds?

Of course, evolutionists aren't bothered by odds. And now I'm beginning to see that God isn't either -- though for an entirely different reason.

I just can't praise God enough for the brief reunion today! I praise you, God!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

You know you're a TA when...'ve learned the fine art of shrugs, grunts, and other advanced means
of communication... know what they're going to ask you when they pull out the 6N H2SO4,
and you know what you're going to tell them...'d like to have a read-aloud version of the lab manual to play for
students while they do their experiment, complete with a *ding* for page
turns... get a kick out of reading, "factors that would have caused the slope to be off included noise in the instrument"...

...when a student asks if they can use the bathroom, you don't ask them why
they're asking you that; you just smile and nod...

…you recognize the signs of LADSS (Lost and Disoriented Student Syndrome) and start an appropriate treatment promptly…. hear the term "TA data" and cringe...

...when a student copies paragraphs from the lab manual in their lab report,
you don't ask WHY?...

...when students mistake a buret for a Pasteur pipet, you smile and then take it away from them gently and quickly...'ve answered the question, "should I follow the lab manual?" at least 15 times... at least... know that the 30-mL test tubes for exp. 10 have not been mysteriously
snatched by a disgruntled student -- they're baking in the oven...

….when a student squirts copper sulfate on their neck, you don’t ask, “WHY?”… don't let students out of lab early because the fluorimeter lamp has
been on for over 2000 hrs...

…you’ve practiced the ancient art of evasion, and probed the mysteries of appearing to understand that which you have never heard before… know to stop a student who's about to analyze a "homogeneous solution" with undissolved crystals floating on top and a cm of sludge at the bottom...

...when students are running TLC plates that are 1 cm by 5 cm, you realize that you've forgotten to stock TLC plates and they’re recycling scraps...

…you realize that the root of all evil is to not read the lab manual…

...when a student comes in with a pair of Viking horns and a clock they want to wear
around their neck, you realize it's Halloween...

...when a student asks, "Where's the lead solution?" with panic in their
eyes, you nudge the cabinet with your foot and grunt...

...Of course, I've been on the other side of this as the student who did all
kinds of silly, inexplicable, and unreasonable things, so maybe I shouldn't be saying anything...


(I just sent this to the people I TA with!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

This site's got potential

I just found a website that describes potential well.
I'm enthralled, and you can be too, if you visit this site.

Of course, another page on that website is worth visiting, too. It's all about chemical potentials, specifically.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Oh, Henry!

Say what you will, I like O. Henry. I just finished a book of some of his short stories. I marked one page that hit my funny bone:

"Look at you, all decent and unrioutous, and only fit to sit on juries and mend the wood-house door. You was a man once. I have hostility for all such acts. Why don't you go in the house and count the tidies or set the clock, and not stand out here in the atmosphere? A jack-rabbit might come along and bite you."

That's from "The Lonesome Road." The next story is from the perspective of a young man wooing a young lady. But there's competition from a millionaire. The young man has pretty much given up on trying to impress the girl, so he ends up telling her what he'd really like to do in life:

"I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to the south shore of Long Island and buy a small cottage I know there on the edge of the bay. And I'll buy a catboat and a rowboat and a shotgun and a yellow dog. I've got money enough to do it. And l'll smell the salt wind all day when it blows from the sea and the pine odor when it blows from the land, And of course, I'll write plays until I have trunk full of 'em on hand.

"And the next thing and the biggest thing I'll do will be to buy that duck-farm next door. Few people understand ducks. I can watch 'em for hours. They can march better than any company in the National Guard, and they can play 'follow my leader' better than the entire Democrate party. Their voices don't amount to much, but I like to hear 'em. They wake you up a dozen times a night, but there's a homely sound about the quacking that is more musical to me than the cry of 'Fresh straw ber-rees!' under your window in the morning when you want to sleep."

Do you think he gets the girl? Read "Rus in Urbe." I especially like the next-to-last sentence.

(All quotes are from Henry, O. "The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories." Pleasantville, NY: The Reader's Digest Assoc., 1987. The first quote is from p. 116; the second quote is from pp. 197-198.)