Tag Archives: tagged


Dana Huff tagged me with a meme, and that’s a lot more fun than closing out a semester and prepping for finals, so I’ll play along. Here are the rules: 

  1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
  2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
  3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
  4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing ten years ago?

I was closing out the first year of my first professor gig. It was probably the most tumultuous year of my life. I had moved to northern Indiana from Tennessee, where I had lived my whole life up to that point. I was in shock at the reality of teaching in a third-tier small college, having gone through 4-5 years of dreamy idealism about what being a professor was going to be like. I had more grading and prepping than I thought possible. Oh, and I was trying to get my dissertation published, while at the same time my knowledge of generalized homology theory was decaying exponentially from not having any time to keep up with it. 

What are five things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order)
  1. Draft a proposal for a faculty meeting tomorrow. 
  2. Grade a couple of differential equations homework sets. 
  3. Grade a calculus assignment for one guy who had to turn it in late (for a legit excuse). 
  4. Do my GTD weekly review, which I am usually doing this time of the week, but instead I am writing this blog post!
  5. Start grading the test that my linear algebra class took on Monday. 

What are some snacks I enjoy?

  • Cereal, right out of the box. No particular brand preference. 
  • Baked Cheetos. My girls started liking these, and I’ve found myself scarfing down half a bag myself before I even knew what I was doing. 
  • English muffins. There’s a honey-wheat variety they sell at the local Marsh that is almost like eating a dessert pastry. 
What would I do if I were a billionaire?   

  • Pay off the rest of my family’s debts. We’ve been working on that a lot this year already. 
  • Store away enough money for college and grad school for my two daughters. 
  • Give about $10 million or so to endow my 4-year old’s Montessori preschool, which does an amazing job with the kids but is perpetually on the brink of bankruptcy. 
  • Finish off the list of stuff we want to do to the house — finish the basement, put in new kitchen countertops, etc. 
  • Store away enough money to take the family to China for 2-3 months once the girls are teenagers. 
  • I’d seriously consider opening my own university.  It would be a Great Books school with an emphasis on math and science. $100 million or so would be way more than enough for a decent endowment.
What are three of my bad habits?   

  • Burping out loud. (That’s not necessarily bad if you live by yourself, but if you have a 4- and 2-year old living with you who you want to have good habits…)
  • Blogging or web surfing when there’s work to get done. (Oops.) 
  • Talking to myself. 
What are five places where you have lived?   

  1. White Bluff, TN. 
  2. A cheap guest house in the ritzy Whitland Avenue neighborhood of Nashville, TN. I lived there in graduate school for five years. Lamar Alexander was my neighbor two doors up and Al Gore was just around the corner. 
  3. Cookeville, TN 
  4. Mishawaka, IN
  5. Bargersville, IN

What are five jobs I have had?

  1. Professor at a small liberal arts college. 
  2. Adjunct professor at a large urban community college. 
  3. Math tutor at a private educational service. 
  4. Baker/jack-of-all-trades at a mom & pop donut shop. Still possibly my favorite job I’ve ever had. If could have earned more than $30K a year and gotten benefits there, I’d never have left. 
  5. Librarian assistant at the Vanderbilt University Biomedical Library. I started out just as grunt labor, reshelving books and journals and changing paper in the copiers and so on; but eventually I worked the circulation desk and helped the reference librarians do technical search work. I’ve always thought that was a cool job, working in a high-powered specialized research library, and if I ever changed careers, that would be one I’d consider. 
Now it’s time to tag five people. Apologies if the following have already done this, but: 
  • Scott Franklin at Natural Blogarithms. 
  • Shelby Berg, a friend from my grad school days who co-writes a blog with her husband about their incredibly cute 1-year old son. 
  • Julia at Intelligent Dissent, who is probably way too busy thinking about really cool and important ideas to do something so pedestrian as a meme, but I’m tagging her anyway. 
  • Isabel at God Plays Dice. 
  • Suzi at My Own Thoughts. 





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