Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Doing it Wrong

I am currently employed as a graduate student in mathematics. What's more is that I was awarded this semester off from teaching, so I am supposedly getting paid purely to do math research (well, I also go to 4 classes and occasional seminars). Of course, that's not like a typical 9-5 job or whatever. I find that I can put in about 3-4 solid hours in a given day, but past that I wear out or get frustrated or so. I think this would be fine, if I actually did 3-4 hours every day, or even 5-6 days a week. I'm lucky, even this semester with no teaching commitment, to do 3 days of 3-4 hours.

One of my mistakes was to sign up as a tutor at a drop-in tutoring center on campus. Sure, I get another thing to add to my distinctly unimpressive CV/resume, and the extra cash is nice. But it works out to an average of, I'd say, at least 12 hours a week, 9 of which are paid. Granted, if I rode my bike there and back, instead of walking, it'd be closer to the 9-10 it should be. I've started noticing, though, that my walks to the office and back, or to tutoring and back, are nice and relaxing (what I need relaxing from... who knows?). Part of 'How to be Idle', I guess. Anyway, this tutoring thing is, in terms of making mistakes, a replica of the one I made last semester in teaching racquetball. Sure it was fun and I got paid, but as a time commitment, it felt like I was doing the wrong thing... cheating the math department or so.

If that were my only sin, I kinda hope the math department would forgive me. But it's downhill from there. I'm signed up for a marathon again next month, so I've been training for that (and various shorter runs). While kinda pushing the limits of acceptable diversions from work, I can almost justify this, because physical exercise is important, right? Of course, 30 minutes 3-5 times a week would be 'enough' exercise, right? I do that time in a single run sometimes, and feel like I should be doing so more frequently.

So tutoring and exercise, maybe I'm not horribly far off track? Maybe the math department shouldn't feel bad about employing me? Let's now add to this my netflix habit (down to 1 at a time, and has been for a while), and my growing feed reader habit. I'm now just under 100 feeds (thanks a lot 'Discover' link in google reader. I feel like I have to semi-regularly check that, to get rid of the list there), with what looks to be about 300+ stories per day. Sure I don't read all of them, just skim lots of headings. But I probably star between 20 and 50 in a given day to come back to. And reading those brings about links to other things to read. And mentions of books that I keep adding to my reading list. And saving longer articles for when (if) I ever get my XO (which I hope to use as an ebook reader, I think).

Now I feel bad about not doing enough math. Even reading more graduate level math, just a little every day, not directly related to my research would be a step in a positive direction. I also feel like I should be running more. And every week (for the past couple anyway), I realize I haven't written anything on this blog in a week, and feel like I should (though I'm not sure why). It'd be even better if this blog had some sort of redeemable theme. I should also be looking at making calc notes for a calc 2 class, since I expect I'll get to teach that in my time here (or later, if I ever get out of here). My cats would probably appreciate more time playing with them.

And then there are those pesky pet projects I want to be working on. An updated, web-based dr mario clone for testing artificial players. A math jokes database (which I decided would be my project for the year, and I have occasionally done little bits for). Work on my google maps pedometer/running log project. A math database.


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