Two of my last three posts have shown up in Google Reader being completely illegible. For some reason some of the text is being bunched up on the left side of the post. I don’t know why it’s doing this, and I don’t know if I can go back and re-post and have it be fixed. This might be happening because I drafted those two articles using a text editor and then cut-and-pasted into the WordPress.com editor, and although I can’t see why that should be a problem, WP.com’s editor is not well-known for its robustness. Anyhow, hopefully this post (being written entirely inside the WP.com editor) will come through OK. If it does, and you subscribe to my feed using Google Reader and couldn’t read my two posts, please just click through the Google Reader feeds to the main articles. They do show up fine on the main blog site.
For everybody, I’ll be putting up some test posts to see if my using a text editor is the problem, and how I might fix it. Thanks for your patience.
UPDATE: Based on the results of the test posts, it looks like my guess above is correct. Must be something about the line breaks not translating properly. Sorry again for the confusion.
First of all, you may have noticed I am again posting after a lengthy hiatus following the birth of our third child. He’s 5 weeks old now, and we are beginning to return to some kind of routine in our lives that includes him. For the first month, as all parents know, you’re basically in survival mode, catching sleep when you can and trying to get your work done elsewhere. He’s nowhere close to sleeping through the night but at least we’re managing better than we were, and I’m on top of things enough at work that I have the time now to write some posts and at least schedule them for future posting, so I have the appearance of posting once a day. Anyhow, I just wanted to say thanks for all your well-wishes and prayers and for your continued reading of my little slice of the interwebs.
Also, you’ve probably noticed some cosmetic changes here. I’ve changed themes to the new “Vanguard” theme and resurrected the header I used to use some years ago. I’ve removed some sidebar elements that weren’t functional, and I added a link to my Twitter page, which tends to be quite active both day and night (as I often am up in the middle of the night with a baby in my left arm and Twittering with my iPod using my right arm). Also, check out the comments — comments to posts can now be threaded up to three levels deep; just use the “Reply” link to start a comment discussion thread.
Apologies for the light blogging for the last couple of weeks. As longtime readers know, I’m on our Promotion and Tenure Committee here at my college — this year I’m the chair of this committee — and we do all of our work reviewing portfolios during the month of January while the rest of the college is doing Winter Term. It’s always a challenge to manage our work so that we get all of our recommendation letters written in a reasonable amount of time, but this year there are some personal reasons that have added an extra sense of urgency.
So ever since the first of this year I’ve been spending all my time either doing these P&T reviews or trying to cram in course preps for the spring (two sections of Calculus and a section of Linear Algebra), in an attempt to get as much done as possible before the baby arrives (click on the link above for the backstory). I don’t think anybody wants me writing their tenure/promotion review or planning their calculus lessons out on the kind of piecemeal sleep schedule parents of newborns have! Hence I’ve had little time for blogging. But no shortage of material; you’ll see, hopefully, once I have some time and energy to devote to it.
Today is the baby’s actual due date, but he doesn’t seem too interested in coming out right now, so we are going in to the hospital tomorrow morning so my wife can be induced. (Should I refer to this event as the Induction Hypothesis?) I think you all understand that I won’t be blogging much for the next week and a half. However, do check in with my Twitter stream if you want to get some updates.
Thanks for reading!
I’ll be taking a break from posting and commenting here at CO9’s until the beginning of next week. Tonight we have Christmas services at my church, and in-laws visiting all day tomorrow, and I’ll probably just want to rest for the remainder of the week!
Until then, have an enjoyable and blessed Christmas, even to those patient readers of this blog out there who don’t share my religious point of view. For those who have the late morning free tomorrow (or after 10 PM this evening), I would second the advice given by Dr. Gene Veith: go to church. Catholic and (many) Lutheran churches still hold Christmas morning masses, and if you’ve never experienced one, then you should try it and see what the “Christ Mass” was really intended to be.
I’ll leave you with this short poem by G. K. Chesterton, also via Gene Veith’s blog, called “A Christmas Carol”:
The Christ-child lay on Mary’s lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary’s breast
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary’s heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world’s desire.)
The Christ-child stood on Mary’s knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down
That hiatus over Thanksgiving has now turned into what looks like a hiatus for most of this week. Somehow I always underestimate the amount of work that goes into the week before finals week, which is what this is. I think after tomorrow it will calm down a little, and then I can post a few things that have come across the radar screen over the last week.
In the meantime, in these hiatus moments, you’re more apt to find me posting content on Twitter than you will find me doing that here. I’m RobertTalbert on Twitter and you can feel free to follow me. Twitter’s nice in that I can just throw out a quick, 140-character “post” with a link rather than arrange and edit and so forth, and it’s an ideal medium for micro-blogging when things get busy.
I’ll be taking a hiatus from blogging from today through Sunday as the Casting Out Nines crew travels to Tennessee to visit the grandparents for Thanksgiving. We normally make our long road trip to the Volunteer State at Christmas, but this year that’s way too close to Harrison’s arrival to be traveling.
I love Thanksgiving because it’s the holiday that Christmas really should be — a time to relax, enjoy family and food and down time, and be thankful for all the ways you have been blessed in your life. I am pleased to say that I have much to think about in that respect: my wife, my two girls, my son on the way in a few weeks, steady employment in these tough economic times, and simply the ability to think and reflect and write like this. I think our culture would be a lot better off if we could discipline ourselves to be thankful. And our haste to skip right over Thanksgiving and go straight into Christmas, giving ourselves over to the ruthless consumerism that Christmas has come to represent, is a symptom of how sick our culture is and how badly we need Thanksgiving.
So I hope you take the chance to slow down, put away the blogging and blog-reading for a couple of days, and do the same. And in case I forget later, I’m thankful for all of you who take time out of your day to click in, read, and comment on this blog.
See you next week!
Over at the Young Mathematicians’ Network, I have an article today on four revealing questions that young faculty should ask about tenure. Since you have to have an account to post comments at the YMN web site, and since some readers who aren’t mathematicians might want to discuss this stuff, I’m going to reprint the article below the fold and open comments for it. Enjoy!
Back in May, my wife and I found out that our lives were about to get a whole lot more interesting. Everybody, meet Harrison Lewis Talbert, our “surprise” baby and third child overall.
He may not look so big, but he’s having a huge impact on our lives. We’re very happy! But we are also definitely entering some uncharted, and unplanned-for, adventures starting in January, when little Harry is due. To chronicle all this, and since my wife and I are unapologetic nerds who will use any excuse to do something technological, we’ve started up a new family blog: The Talbert Five. We had a family blog twice before, and we tried to make them pseudonymous or password-only, and it was just either too much work (in the former case) or no fun and kind of stagnant (in the latter). So we’re making this blog wide-open and hoping not too many creepy internet people show up. (That doesn’t apply to the always-sophisticated readers of Casting Out Nines, of course.)
So if you’re interested in following what’s happening on the family side of things, hop on board.
I’m happy to announce the start of a new blogging project that has been percolating for about a month now. I will be joining a team of bloggers who will be contributing posts on a more-or-less weekly basis to the website of the Young Mathematicians’ Network. The YMN is an organization devoted to giving support to graduate students and new faculty in the mathematical sciences and raising awareness of issues to that group of people and others who share their interests.
My co-bloggers and I will be putting up articles about all kinds of topics. Some of the other bloggers are blogging anonymously because they’ll be writing about their own job searches or their activities on search committees. Me, I’ve always found anonymous blogging to be too much work, so I will be sticking to posts of particular interest to young math faculty and to grad students — posts that might be a little out of place or perhaps too much of niche pieces here at Casting Out Nines. I plan on either cross-posting or linking to the posts over at YMN, though, so people can go read the stuff if they want.
In fact, here’s my first post — The hiring process as risk management. (You have to register and log in to comment.)
UPDATE 10.18, 11:00 AM: And as soon as I made this announcement, there was a pretty serious technical problem with YMN’s server, and the site’s offline. I’ll update again once it’s fixed.
UPDATE 5:00 PM: It’s fixed.