Wednesday, October 31, 2007

an Excuse for Everything!

Happy Halloween, fellow bloggers and blog-lurkers!

CRASH UPDATE: I have good news and bad news. The good news is that my first followup xray, 12 days post crash, showed complete healing of the broken bone. The fracture line was not visible on the xray, and things look exactly like they're supposed to! Yippeee!!! However, the bad news is I'm still looking at a LONG rehab, as all I'm supposed to be doing now is the simplest of ROM exercises, and still nothing coming even CLOSE to riding outside! However, my cross training plan seems to be working, and a combination of walking/hiking, riding the TT bike on the trainer, and going to the gym seems to be tiring me out at least as much as riding outside used hopefully I won't be too behind the game! I'm getting really sick of the sling, though. I'm such a bad patient!

However, life goes on, and there are still things happening to keep me entertained. Especially last night...when sometime between the time I went to sleep (11pm) and woke up (5am), I got some interesting emails. You see, in my Design course, homework is due on Thursday. Last week, I gave them a bit of a break, and gave them an extra 5 days to do the homework. However, being undergraduates, this didn't mean a thing..many of them waited until yesterday to begin it, at which time they realized it was a tad time consuming! So I got these emails "excerpts only":

"..There is a lot going on this week: with a couple of midterms in other ME classes, Halloween, and the fires. Even for the people that do not go out for Halloween, they still suffer from a lack of sleep from the loud people partying in the apartment next door. I know that other people have also been affected by the fires, as one of my family's properties in Ramona burnt down last week. For me specifically, I am sending in my applications for medical school this week, and I am really swamped. An extension would be infinitely helpful. Please let me know if you could do this. Thank you for your time, ..."

"...Most of us have at least three homework assignments due at the end of this week and we all have a midterm on Friday. Is there any possible way you can maybe cut the assignment down a bit and have some of it due on monday? Also the h.w. is still not posted on the web so a bunch of students that don't have the notes are in even hotter water than me. Also, this is not a plee to make halloween night less hectic. I don't care about that I just need to focus on my midterm and getting my resume ready...."


"..Me and a few of my fellow engineering friends strongly feel that this homework assignment should be due at a later time due to the fact that we also have hw and a midterm in ME 155A Controls Design on thursay. I know that you had already given us a couple more days to finish the assignment, but halloween weekend didnt really help that much..."

So, am I being unreasonable? Halloween is a big party scene down here in SB, but last weekend was the 'halloween party weekend', too (as i heard from my windows every night), which is why i gave them an extra weekend on the front end to work on the assignment! :-) I was thinking ahead...but alas they were not. I don't understand why they complain about homework in MY class (where HW is always due on thursdays--it is not like this is new to them), vs. on of the other ones mentioned in the emails. A no win situation. However, I have to hold a hard line. I've decided to devote part of class tomorrow to homework time, and the rest to exam review (they have a midterm next Tuesday). I feel that's pretty nice of me, and about all I can do to appease them and still 'hold a hard line.' Wow...

I guess I'm just in a complainy mood...there are, of course, many students in the class who began the homework last week, and are finished by this point. I don't want to penalize them for being on top of things!

It is a fine line--that line between friendly and helpful, and them walking all over you! The game is on...


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Innovate or Die :-)

So I finally came up with a good design project for my mechanical design class! Actually, Specialized did! Check out their "Innovate or Die" Contest! I've decided to have my class participate in this, or at least propose designs for it. Last year we did a human powered water distillation system, and most of the solutions were this is along the same vein!

Some of these are REALLY funny! For example:

or with this one...I could just happily ride away on my trainer while blogging, googling, or, egads, WORKING!

We'll see what these kids come up with! Seems like it will be fun, anyway!

On another note, it seems like just about everyone around here is stuck riding indoors for the time being. The air quality is so bad that going outside is unpleasant most of the time. My poor dogs don't know why their runs are getting cut short! Let's hope for cooler temperatures, less wind, and more rain! And help to those who have lost their home. At least one person who was at the dog show last weekend now has no home, and a few others are evacuated. One of my friends has not been located or accounted for, and cell phone signals are not getting through. Hopefully they're just out of phone range. Scary.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Seeking Trainer workouts...

Anything to make a month of trainer riding palatable....
I think I need to look back at those Movie lists people were posting a month or 2 ago! The trainer/bike now has become a permanent fixture in my TV much for redecorating! The bikes just can't seem to stay out of the living space...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Performance Enhanced Lecturing?

So this is a funny least it seemed funny to me!
I woke up this morning, post crash, feeling not so hot. Although I managed to sleep well, things had started to tighten up, swell up, etc., and so by this morning I was not feeling so hot! Plus, I had to teach my class this morning! Not one to want to disappoint 110 eager mechanical engineering seniors (read small bit of sarcasm here), I wanted to make it to class. But considering how hard it was to just get dressed, it was not looking up, and I decided that it was time to break open the 'more advanced' drugs I had gotten yesterday. Knowing full well that they might affect my ability to give a coherent lecture, I decided the pain management was worth it.

So I took the medication...and I went to class, and taught my lecture. I had fun with it, got the class to engage a bit, even got a few people to come up and participate, and did a few examples for them that will be useful later on. I was happy to have I did feel the "brain fog" set in on a few moments. However, after the lecture, someone came up to me to ask a question, and said,

"Professor Turner, that was a really great lecture today!"

I'm not sure whether to be happy or unhappy knowing that I lecture better when 'impaired,' or to just be happy I managed to engage a significant fraction of these students and get them all to learn something!

After that, I promptly dropped my bike off at the shop for some rehab of it's own, and then went home for 4 hours of sleep on the couch.

Healing is hard work.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Broken spirit (or the start of a true "off-season")

Today started out pretty normal..a morning of work, and I decided to do the Wednesday noon climb of Old San Marcos. I managed to sneak in a good 2.5 hour workout, with climbing, and I made the mistake of riding through campus. It was right when the classes were changing, meaning there were TONS of people on the bike path. I kept thinking to myself "you should have taken the long way around campus and avoided the bike path," and "this is just insane" trying to weave my way around the potato-chip wheel cruisers with rusty chains and cell phone equipped riders who use them freely... but alas I was already there and tried to just tough it out. I had actually made it through campus, and was just at the outskirts of IV (Isla Vista) when it happened... a girl on one of those aforementioned cruiser bikes tries to avoid someone else, and rides RIGHT into me, with enough force that I was completely knocked off balance, and immediately there is no forward pedaling to be done, and I crash. I hit my shoulder, hip, and head. I hadn't been going fast....I suppose thats a good thing. I was more angry than anything. My bike is completely banged up. The girl who hit me is fine...she stops and says "are you ok?" and I said "I don't know, as I'm sitting on the ground feeling like a moron still clipped into the one pedal! I look at my poor bike and see the shifter sitting off at a bad angle...all banged up and scratched. The chain is caught in the spokes of my wheel, the derailleur looks a little 'off.' Wow, what a mess! And that was before I realized something was wrong with my arm.

I managed to bend things back together and make the bike rideable, with the help of someone else who stopped and happeend to know enough about bikes to help me do all this one-handed. And then I rode home. (about another 1.5 miles).

By the time I got home I decided that my shoulder was really not feeling so hot, and so i went to the doctor. Two hours of waiting later, and a few more of those xrays I love so much, and the prognosis (don't have copies of the pictures yet) is: a compression fracture of the humerus! Sigh. The pictures were interesting..looks like the bone just got smashed hard enough that the end just kind of got compressed, and there is a little vertical crack inside. Well, that, and a good case of road rash on my elbow. More time off the bike for me. I got the orthopedic referral, although I don't think they do much for these things. I hope that my freakish healing capability can kick in right away so that I can ride again soon...

What kind of luck is this? I was planning a road trip this weekend to show some Irish setters. BEing as this injury is on my leash-holding hand, that means the dog show is out (although I could go just for the socializing), and if I stayed home, I couldnt go on any rides! I have to admit my normally positive outlook is waning a just bummed.

Time for a glass of wine I suppose.

-over and out.

Monday, October 15, 2007

on being famous...

Something really funny happened yesterday, which I decided after some thought was bloggable...

The weekend for me consisted of a lot of cycling, a little work, a little shopping, and a lot of sleep. On Sunday, my bike ride consisted of going out with a few friends of mine, namely to catch up with one of my friends who has moved up the coast to finish her MS at Cal Poly. She was back for the weekend, and so a few of us decided to go for a spin. Because I wanted to get more miles in, I rode from my house, which added an extra 30 miles to my ride. The ride was rather uneventful...I enjoyed the nice break from the craziness of "Sunday Worlds," which is my usual ride-of-choice on Sunday mornings, mostly for the coffee time afterwards! So, our "girls ride" happened to end up at the coffee house as well (as many good long weekend rides do). My friend Olivia happened to see a postdoc she knew (she's also at UCSB) in the coffeeshop, and introduced me and Ginger to him. As with many introductions, often the names go flying by without much mention, i.e. in one ear, out the other. I think this is mostly what happened in this case. So a couple of minutes into the conversation, this guy turns to me and says, "so you're at UCSB, too? What department are you in?" I answer, "Mechanical Engineering." He says, (assuming I am a graduate student...that always makes me feel young), "with whom do you work?" I answer, "I work with lots of folks, I'm a professor there." And then he gives me this quizzical look, and then it looks like a light goes off in his head...and he says, "are you THE Kimberly_Turner?" and I say, "I am A Kimberly_Turner, I'm not sure I'm THE Kimberly_Turner, are there many?" (I'm having fun with it at this point)...

So it turns out that someone that this postdoc knew back at Illinois where he had studied was someone who thought quite highly of my work, and had told him about me and my work before he came here. And thus the world gets smaller and smaller.

So now I am THE DrKim, I suppose...that's kind of scary! I kind of liked being incognito, especially on the bike! I guess I'll have to come up with a disguise...I do have a new team for next year....


Friday, October 12, 2007

Top 10 lists.

(had some blog trouble this week....but back in business now...)

Since I'm back into the school/work's time to bring out the top 10 lists! Here are some funny ones while I'm working on collecting the top 10 excuses for missing class/turning in homework late/etc.

So this one is poking fun at myself a bit...and I am being honest here, sometimes brutally so:

So....for all those of you who were college students once, you must remember the "end of course evaluations". That one day where you could get back at your professor for being too hard, too lazy, too smart, too... Turns out, people actually READ what you wrote on those sheets, and those comments come back to haunt those of us who are being written about! So, here is my top 7 (ok, so it was going to be top 10, but I could only think of 7 good ones and don't have time to actually look them up--I have real work to do) comments ever received on teaching evaluations...the good and the bad.

7. (gotta start with the good...) the best professor at UCSB. I will take all of her classes from now on.

6. (on my VERY first teaching experience). Good professor, a bit nervous, but I'm sure she'll get better with practice.

5. Professor Turner really knows her stuff.

4. Too should be meaner to the obnoxious dude in the back row. (who I did kick out of class at least once)

3. Makes me feel stupid (I still feel bad about this one...but the poor guy asked the same question EVERY lecture and EVERY office hour, and after awhile, I risked jeopardizing the whole class' experience by answering that question every day...).

2. Fun professor. Everyone should go to office hours and talk about cycling. (you can see how i liven up the office hours which are light on people)

and the number 1 funny comment received on a teaching evaluation: Professor Turner is a really good dresser. (**side note: no, i've never worn spandex to teach class :-))

Sigh. :-)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bragging rights...

So school is getting into the swing of things...and I already have students making excuses for missing class/missing quizzes/etc. Some of them are funny, some are lame, and some are are real. So on the very first day of class, when one particular student said he was going to be missing class this week, my ears were perked. He went on to say he would be missing class in order to compete at Elite Track of course I said I was jealous, wished him luck, and offered extra office hours to help him make up the work :-).

Today, I replied to his latest email with a request for a meeting time...and I discover not only did he just "race" in Elite Track Nationals, but he happened to become the new U23 Kilometer TT National Champion! So I just had to say Congrats to Matt Post, who also happens to be in my senior ME design class, and races for UCSB Cycling!