dr_phil_physics: (writing-winslet-2)
Whew. Thursday. October. Made it.

Both my classes had their Exam 1s on Wednesday. So Sunday I had to write four exams -- both classes get a Form A and a Form B and we alternate exams and seats. Monday I had to write up the solutions. That was complicated because some of the MathType blocks I needed to edit were 10-15 years old -- and MathType 6.9a and Word 2010/2013 sometimes crash on some of these older blocks. Sigh. I finally ended up doing screenshots of the PDF of an old solution, and edited the equations in Windows 7 Paint and pasting them in as graphics. (!!) The kluges we do for love of Physics -- and hatred of Microsoft.

Arranged to get the exams copied and numbered on Monday.

Monday afternoon, my office hours were less lonely. Tuesday was a zoo. My Tuesday noon office hour is up in the Physics Help Room, so I had to go up there. And then we had charity benefit for Feeding America Tuesday evening in Holland, so I had to leave early. In between I had to type up a solution for a take-home quiz for my PHYS-1070 and get the webpages set up so I could load them just before I went home. Gosh -- uploaded at 2:59pm -- right on time! Amazing.

Tuesday evening was a bust, at least for doing work. The event and the meal were fabulous -- post coming Real Soon Now. Didn't even try to write when I got home.

Wednesday PHYS-1070 Exam 1 at 10am, PHYS-2070 Exam 2 at 1pm. PHYS-1070 graders came by and got their instructions around 2:30pm. I waited until 4:20, but the other graders were a no-show -- we had a 4pm appointment and I stayed late because at least one was teaching a lab. Don't know what happened yet.

Wednesday night -- it's the 30th of September and the end of a quarter, so it's deadline for the Writers of the Future, for which I still have some eligibility. I had started a story back on 28 August, which was to be the WOTF Q4 2015 entry. I've pondered the story -- but only had 105 words written. The plan was to attack it two weekends ago so it "wouldn't be a last minute rush"... Ha. I ended up being entertained in the ER early Saturday morning instead (DW) (LJ). So much for writing.

Then a week ago, on Thursday 24 September, on the drive in to work, I had a new idea. No! I don't want a new idea. I had just fleshed out what I wanted to do with the old story and... Uh-uh, new idea! Shiny! Good! Great visuals! Dammit. No, I am simultaneously writing two stories in my head. I opened a file on Friday the 25th and sketched out 1304 words. That's over 12 times what I had in the bag for the first story.

Fine. New new story. As usual for me. It happens every damned quarter. (grin)

I started in on the writing around 10:30pm. It's a midnight deadline... on the west coast. It did go fast. A small cast for a Dr. Phil short story -- and almost nothing to look up online, except for the spelling of a couple of words not in the Microsoft Word 2010 spellcheck. I had 5405 words by 1am. Print, revise. 5512 words by 1:57. Create RTF without cover sheet. Upload to WOTF at 2:04am EDT, or 2604 hours Wednesday -- 2304 hours PDT.

Done. Whew. Another entry -- my streak since 30 June 2002 is still intact. Just read through it and amazingly didn't find any typos... yet. On the other hand, there's a potentially annoying repeated word right at the ending. Can't figure out if it's artistic enough. (evil-grin) Well, we'll see. My WOTF Q3 2015 story actually got an Honorable Mention from the new judge -- amazing! He's hated most of what I've submitted since K.D. Wentworth died.

On another note, I have decided I really loathe Word 2013, which came on OUEST, the university's laptop. I cannot figure out how to turn off the animation, where it slides and skips onto pages as you scroll or PageUp/PageDn. Come on, can't you just pop to the new location LIKE EVERY OTHER EARLIER VERSION OF WORD EVER? In Word 2010, clicking on the Page 1 of 21 in the lower left, brings up the Ctrl-G goto page number box. Not so in 2013, which brings up this "Navigation" window which does everything but allow you to goto a page number. Back to Ctrl-G, I guess. And then there's the look of the pages. Someone in the university locked down the defaults so I can't change the wallpaper -- it's a brilliant white -- and the windows are overly bright as well. All my usual manipulations don't help. I guess you can have any color you want on this machine as long as it's BRIGHT WHITE.

The latest is that Word apparently made a power grab and was the program to open two desktop shortcuts -- RTF reminder files that I had set up to open with Write. Having reset the Properties on the shortcuts, now Word 2013 had to sulk and whine about it no longer being the default program for opening documents. You know, Word 2013? Deal with it. It's just those two shortcuts.

Anyway, I've still managed to do a little work on the novel -- more time has freed up now. Onward!

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

On For Fall

Thursday, 16 July 2015 15:27
dr_phil_physics: (wmu-logo)
Well, it's official now. Monday I got my contract letter for Fall 2015 and today, Thursday 16 July 2015, I signed it and turned it in. Sitting in my office, employed once again. Or I will be once things start up in another month or so.

As much as I will be delighted to be back in the classroom, it will be a bit of a shock given the months of this year's Sabbatical. Not that I haven't had time off before, especially these past three summers, but since I've been working so heavily on the YA trilogy+, I won't have all those hours to throw into writing and revising.

Of course, as I have said before, it won't take too much of a YA advance to convince me to go full-time writing, especially with the expense of driving five days a week 154 miles a day and 2½ tanks of gas a week.

I am a part-time instructor. Adjunct. And actually we're doing pretty good with having the PTO union. But at the same time, it's not that they pay me all that much.

For Fall 2015 I am teaching two four-credit classes. Part-timers can't teach more than nine credits a semester. For this I am being paid $850/credit hour, $3400/class.

$6800 for the Fall 2015 semester.

Since I, on purpose, did not teach during Spring (Winter) 2015 semester or Summer-I/II 2015 sessions, this will be my entire 2015 taxable salary.

Right now I am scheduled for one class for the Spring (Winter) 2016 semester, the PHYS-3090 Modern Physics course, which will be great fun. But of course I'll be making even less.

Fortunately Mrs. Dr. Phil is okay with this. But she'd also be happy if I didn't do so much driving, especially in the winter.

Some of this reverie is stuff I've been talking about for a long time -- it's just with the YA-trilogy+ foaming over the edge of its petri dish and starting to rise into a real thing, I've probably thought about it more often than before. And then today there was a marvelous post from my author friend Jim C. Hines announcing he's going to full-time writing, which in his case is because he's got enough success to make it work. Go, Jim, go!

Before I got sick in 2013, I had realized that I actually had a chance to do enough time to get a small pension out of the 20+ years of part-time teaching. Now, having had to take time off and not always having classes, I'm not so sure that the pension vesting is practical anymore.

We shall see...

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (hal-9000)
Saturday, and I'm at MSU in East Lansing for the Spring Meeting of the Michigan Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers. Just gave my talk "The Speed of Students" at 10am.

I've been giving presentations for thirty years. Overhead projectors -- hand drawn with colored markers, then printed on LaserJets. Video displays sitting on an overhead projector, displaying DOS pages and screens from Windows 2.03 Paint. Now it's PowerPoint on Macs and PCs. Except today.

KATNISS, my conference Windows 7 Basic Asus netbook, I haven't used in a while. And when I went to update it and test it Thursday, it was having trouble conflicting with the Amazon Echo over an IP address and I didn't have time to troubleshoot. So I left it at home and had my talk on a Swiss Army Memory USB drive.

But I actually just gave the talk on my Kindle Fire HD.

Last night I emailed my PowerPoint from ZEPELLIN to Gmail to my WMU email, which then downloaded cleanly to the Kindle. From the email app, I could call up the PowerPoint application in OfficeSuite 7 Pro.

If I had to, I could use a document scanner to see the screen on the Kindle -- I've done this. But I also have a ten foot HDMI cable for the Kindle.

Turns out the room we're in doesn't have a document projector, but they did have an HDMI input. So, Kindle Fire HD to HDMI to projector. Yup, sound and video work. More importantly, the MSU Guest internet connection logged in perfectly the first time.

PowerPoint with URL links, which opened a new tab in the Silk browser, and call up the two YouTube videos, one at a time of course, swift the YouTube box to full screen. Watch movie trailers. Back arrow to browser. Back arrow back to PowerPoint presentation, already in progress.

Did this whole thing twice. And the Click reveal animation worked fine on all the bullet points.

The point is... this whole malarkey worked beautifully.

But given the steps involved, it's hard to tell if this is progress, living in the future -- or just pigheaded determination to kludge together a talk using a vast array of hardware and software steps, flying in borderline formation. (grin)

The talk, by the way, was inspired by the 2001: A Space Odyssey trailer and a 2012 film student's reimagination of 2001 as an action film. I talked about that here (DW) (LJ).


Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
I'm adjunct. I don't get sabbaticals, unless I want to declare one.

So we've been talking about this for a while and today I did it. I am not going to teach for Spring (i.e. Winter) 2015. You might think it's a little late, but as per usual, adjunct contracts go out late.

You might think it's all about the weather. And that's a factor. I managed to soldier in last winter, except for the odd snow day and a vehicle failure, but that was when we thought the errant heel was healing.

So late last night I sent my boss the following in an email:
We haven't talked about 2015 courses since last summer. I think I commented at the time that we wouldn't know until December or January or so whether the bone infection in my left heel has been beaten back or not -- I am just finishing up the six months of antibiotics in the next two weeks. If they were going to have to amputate, I was happy to teach in Fall 2014 and take Spring (i.e. Winter) 2015 off.

Well, it's still too early, but we've already had a taste of a hard winter in November -- 31" in Grand Rapids or 40% of the whole 2013-14 snow season. While I soldiered in last winter, that was when we thought we had normal healing going on.

I think it's best that I "take a sabbatical" for Spring 2015 and keep off my foot as much as possible. And if they need me to have surgery, there's plenty of time for recovery and rehab. Otherwise I would still try to keep some weekly office hours, subject to weather, and whatever happens, I should be able to teach Summer I and Summer II 2015 if there are courses available ***. I really would hate to start teaching and then have my foot blow up and leave the department and my students in the lurch. Being pro-active and taking the time off is the best solution for all concerned.
Now most people would be bummed to not work and lose the money, but I'm not most people. First of all, with my long commute and its costs, it's not like I really make anything on my adjunct salary. So teaching or not is practically a wash for our budget. And I'm an optimist. Having the time at home AND not having to face the wintry roads for months will not only be nice, it's really nice for Mrs. Dr. Phil.

And I can really rest the heel. And if it goes? Well, I won't be missing anything.

So I have declared Spring 2015, my 69th semester of university work, as my Sabbatical 2.0. What shall I do with this time? The obvious thing is write. Have not done a lot of submissions in 2014, though I am writing up a storm on my YA series -- 113,000 words so far and counting -- which means I've written more this year that in the last several years combined.

But... while I was talking to my department chair today, he happened to glance at my PHYS-1070 textbook, Inquiry Into Physics / Vern J. Ostdiek and Donald J. Bord (7th Edition), and asked what I thought about it. The thing is, it's not a bad textbook for an all-of-physics-algebra-level-in-one-semester class. But Chapter One sucks. I mean, if you had a GOOD high school Physics or AP Physics class, the first chapter is a nice review. But I have to assume we are starting at ground zero and working our way up. I spend weeks bringing everyone up to speed on just the first chapter. And then I extend the material, so the students end up with the kinematic equations as we use in PHYS-1130 and the calc level PHYS-2050. This allows them to talk to other students or people working the Help Room and get help they can understand.

I once spent two hours talking to a company rep about exactly what was wrong with that chapter. Years ago. It hasn't changed.

I've taught PHYS-1070 and its earlier variants a total of 28 times now. Early on we were using Hewitt's Conceptual Physics, which is too light. And we've been using Ostdiek & Bord since about the 3rd edition, I think. Other professors have taught PHYS-1070 over the years, and no one has found a "good" textbook. There just aren't many suitable for this course.

I've even thought about writing my own textbook.

So I told my boss I was going to rewrite my syllabus over my sabbatical and that I was thinking of using the full-year algebra level textbook, especially as we are currently using a loose-leaf edition which means we can pull just the sections we are going to use. And then my boss points out that actually, PHYS-1130/1150 is switching to a new text, one available for free and published with a Creative Commons license. Huh.

Bottom line, during my sabbatical of six months or so, I will also be taking that online text apart and figuring out the sections we need for PHYS-1070. Perhaps get the authors permissions to edit down the PDFs. And so I'm penciled in for PHYS-1070 for the 29th time in Fall 2015, where I will field trial the new text.

And we'll see how it goes. (grin)

What. Fun.

Now, just need to make it through December 16th and the noon grading deadline, followed by half a dozen doctors appointments... (evil-grin)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (seasons-best-kate)
The Blue Line Club

As 2012 winds down and folks become reflective, I'll point out that for the last couple of years I've been limping around and (hopefully) growing a new leg nerve. A process expected to take two to three years as such nerves grow at the rate of fingernails.

As mentioned before, stairs are the worst, but I've taken to use a cane for assistance, and as that removes a hand from usefulness, I tow my crap from car to office with a little collapsible plastic OfficeMax cart. This semester the faculty parking lot has been overcrowded and I've frequently had to either park at the far end or sit 20-30 minutes before a spot opened up.

A colleague broke his ankle in the Fall and has been scooting along with one of those knee scooters -- hell, he could move way faster than I could -- and he'd gotten a temporary handicapped hang tag. With winter coming and no idea how mild or bad it'd be, the prospect of dragging the cart in AND making an early class was not pleasant.

So I got a handicapped hang tag.

I Love My Doctor

I figured that I'd qualify for a 3 or 6 month temporary, but when I got my application form back from the doctor, he'd put me down for a permanent handicap, and bless his heart he listed morbid obesity not nerve damage as the cause.

So I'm good into 2017 on this tag.

I'd really like to not have to use it in a year or so, but I'll take it.

Notes On Those Blue Lined Spaces

By gosh, they work.

But there are things I've never thought of. Like what do travelers do? You'd have to choose between parking at a train station or an airport, and having the hang tag with you if you're renting a car at the destination.

But at the moment I don't have worry about this.

Less than an hour to go until 2013... and in this small way, next year will be better than this year. (grin)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
It's That Time Of The Year

Yes, I've not been posting much lately on LiveJournal/Dreamwidth. Hell, I haven't been posting much on Facebook, either.

The reason, of course, is that it's the end of Fall semester. Final Exams were last week, the last week of class rush the week before. And now it's Grading Week, that abbreviated period that ends with the Death Clock running out Tuesday at Noon. (grin)

So I haven't given up on blogging. I'm not ignoring you. I'm just up to my armpits in grading papers.

Dr. Phil

Strange Day

Friday, 10 February 2012 22:48
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-driving)
Today Was One Of Those Odd Days

I had a ton of things to do before my classes and managed to do most of it. Handed back Exam 1 to both groups. Had to sort some papers and get some backlogged quizzes to my grader, who probably left early anyway, but I got it done. (grin) A rather productive day, in a weird way.

The weather was supposed to turn today. Not so much snow as cold and wind. I thought I'd try to leave at 4pm. But as I started to pack up at 3:55, I picked up my lunch bag... and it was heavy. Huh. I never got around to eat it. So I sat and took a minute.

By the time I got out and cleaned some slush off the Blazer, logged in and drove off in low gear, it was around 4:30pm.

I got home over two hours later.

The traffic guy on WLAV-FM said it was the worst number of wrecks and slide offs he's ever tracked. Over sixty in Kent and Ottawa County.

Actually it wasn't too bad for the first half-hour/forty-five minutes on US-131. Slow but not unreasonable. But driving under the overpass at Exit 64 Wayland, it was driving into Mordor. It got dark. And everyone slowed. The new style beam style wipers kept shedding big chunks of ice, when then rattled up and over the roof in the wind.

Even slower on the M-6. Radio reporting that the Kent-Ottawa County border was bad -- I'd be crossing it three times. Curving onto I-196, things rolled slower and slower -- down to 1st gear 4WD and 5 mph. Trooper blocking the middle of the highway -- had to cross the rumble strip and half off the pavement to get around. Wilson was slow, M-45 less traffic but the road was squirrely. The temp had dropped from 35°F to 18°F in less than an hour.

I'll post pictures. (grin)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (canada-flag)
Happy Canada Day!

It's July 1st and that begins a whole month of national holidays.

As For June... And May...

Oh yeah, I've been teaching. (grin) Teaching in the summer is like driving a race car instead of a suburban commute. All the material, half the time, half the weekends, all the quizzes -- every day in fact -- and it's a whirlwind.

So as for why I've been scarcer on LJ than I'd like, well, now you know. Of course this is now officially Grading Weekend. Because Tuesday was the Final Exam and yesterday, Thursday, I got the finals back from the grader. So we're down to grading two-and-a-half quizzes, the Topic 1 Science Literacy Book Reports and the Topic 2 Real World Driving Data Worksheets. Good news? Only 37 in the class.

But I Am Behind

Had composed a number of LJ posts in my head while driving to/fro K-zoo, but of course that doesn't count. Not until we get John Scalzi's BrainPals installed.

So... later.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (maxwells-equations)
Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics, 3rd edition (1999)

In my advanced E&M course, PHYS-4400, we've run into one of the great walls of Physics teaching. The textbook which had been ordered for the course before I was assigned to teach it, is really more of a graduate level book. Which is a shame, since Brau tries to incorporate relativity into E&M, which I very much approve of. So we've sort of punted back down to Griffiths, which had been the previous textbook.

Now I know of Griffiths reputation as a textbook. And from my work with it the last few weeks, I am pretty pleased with quite a number of the ways he does things, as well as the sometimes grumpy commentaries and footnotes. (grin) Of course when I took this level of course at Northwestern back in the late 70s, we used Lorrain & Corson, I believe, and at Michigan Tech in the mid-80s, they used Ruth, Milford & Christy. Everyone, it seems, uses Jackson at the graduate level -- one of the great textbooks of all times, despite the ridiculously hard problems and the sometimes obscure and dense writing.

The problems, as you can imagine in this Internet world, of having "industry standard" textbooks used by many, many institutions, is that problems, solutions, hints and even the publisher's solution manuals for Griffiths and Jackson have leaked onto the web. Now you or I know that just copying over someone else's answers to a problem is wrought with dangers -- if you don't know what you're doing then you rarely write things / copy them over exactly as they were sitting before you and/or you miss crucial steps which, if called upon, you will be totally unable to explain. Plus you're not helping your studying for exams. And you're cheating. And it's unfair to those who've slogged through a solution to be competing with cheaters. Etc., etc., etc.

The Single Source Problem

But it's kind of worse than that. Recently we were talking about the bar electret, an interesting sort of polarized material with a permanent charge of ±q on the ends -- essentially the electric equivalent of a bar magnet. Barium titanate, BaTiO3, was listed as one such material. I thought I'd look up on this to find out what sort of uses one has for a bar electret.¹ But if you try to look up "bar electret" in Wikipedia, one of the articles you'll get is about the Electric Displacement vector, D, where you find that the citation is Griffiths, Intro to Electrodynamics, 3rd edition. (grin)

Then a student came to me today and said that they had to show me this web page, because it'd left them uncomfortable. To work a problem sketching the electric field of a bar electret, they'd gone searching on the web -- and found someone's online lecture notes. Except that instead of talking about bar electrets, they just gave the solution to that particular problem in Griffiths.

If I wasn't already aware of the problem, I'd be upset. As it is, I just sigh. And regret that, at least in terms of high rankings in Google searches, no one else besides Griffiths is talking about bar electrets. Eventually you can get into a circular argument sort of situation, if you aren't careful, in which any confirmation you try to find on a subject ends up being cited back to the original source. And that's not good.

This is why we have to have more than one textbook. This is why we need faculty to write more textbooks, even though there are ones which "everyone uses". Because you shouldn't have just a single source on intellectual information. You need to have other references. You need to see how other people work the same material and types of problems differently. You need to have more than one source for preparing lecture materials.

Even if few people end up using these others texts in their courses, because after all, Griffiths at the advanced undergraduate level and Jackson at the grad level are the industry standard textbooks, and "everyone" is using them.

Dr. Phil

¹ The best use I can come up with, and I don't even know if it'd work, since I don't know anything about the strength of this charges, would be to electrically ruffle the fur of my cat without touching them. (grin)
dr_phil_physics: (miss-michigan-usa)
It's The Same Everywhere

The nation is busy on a budget cutting spree from the national level to the local townships. The economic meltdown and high unemployment means that tax revenues are down everywhere. And while the economy is doing a few rumblings of recovery, there are still plenty of people and industries and communities in difficulty. Into this environment, the conservative swing in government is in part taking the form of swinging the budget cutting axes.

As For Michigan...

The November 2010 elections swept in Republican control of the state house, senate and governor's mansion. While that doesn't mean an automatic pass on any legislation, the good news is that I expect there to be a lot less fighting to come up with something that can be passed -- though the jury is still out as to whether the One Tough Nerd new governor will sign just anything out of the state legislature.

Rick Snyder's first budget was supposed to have been announced about half an hour ago, though the details were given to news organizations late last night.

It sounds like there will be a 3-4% cut in school support and a 15% cut in state university support. The latter sounds like a lot, and it's not chump change, but it isn't quite the bad news that it looks like.

First, state support of the universities has been either declining or holding even for years, so that the state part of the universities budgets has been steadily dwindling. Second, I'm not sure if this includes the moratorium on (most) new construction projects. That's already sent the universities scrambling to raise donor funds for their building projects and so is a known issue.

I'm sure some of the universities will deal with this tightening of the money spigot better than others. I'm expecting that WMU will still be needing to teach courses even in the face of belt tightening, so I am assuming for the moment that I will have work beyond the end of April.

It's not a time to panic. Yet. And a budget is at this stage merely a proposal.

We'll see.

Dr. Phil


Wednesday, 2 February 2011 02:29
dr_phil_physics: (wmu-logo)

Well, the weather people in West Michigan have been hyping this winter storm for nearly a week. Fact is, nearly every storm which has clobbered the Midwest west of here or clobbered the East Coast repeatedly, has ended up going around West Michigan. Oh sure, right on the lakeshore there have been multiple one- to two-foot snowfalls. But much of the prevailing lake effect bands have been running down Lake Michigan, north to south, and Allendale is located inside the "waist" of Michigan, so we just haven't gotten all that much snow. Alas, it's really been too warm, so we've got a lot of ice.

By Sunday, which started off a beautiful sunny day, the National Weather Service chimed in and issued the first Winter Storm Advisories for Tuesday night and Wednesday -- and the magic word "blizzard" popped out. And the hype machine was on. Storm forecasts of 12"-14" are now 14"-18". And on Tuesday, they moved up the warnings from 7pm to 5pm.

I don't remember where I was on US-131 coming home on Tuesday, but at 5:02pm the snow started. Before that I was just dealing with icy roads and gusty crosswinds. Mrs. Dr. Phil posted on Facebook that "5:10 pm -- home, no sign of snow all day long. 5:27 pm -- OMG! It's snowing sideways, can't see out to the road!"

Yeah, the blizzard is actually here.

Everybody's Doing It

I warned my students that if the storm followed Track A and not Track B, then I probably couldn't make it to K-zoo on Wednesday -- and with drifting might not be able to make it out of the driveway. (grin) By noon, or so, I updated my class webpages and canceled Wednesday's classes and office hours.

Grand Valley State University canceled their evening classes on Tuesday and all classes on Wednesday. Kalamazoo College closed for tomorrow, but part of their campus is on narrow streets on a hill -- I had to go there once after a snow storm, parking was impossible. And Kalamazoo Valley Community College closed early, but KVCC is just off of I-94 and is very exposed and always gets creamed by the snow.

My university? Western Michigan University did what it always does -- posted on their homepage that WMU rarely closes and here's why. They even provided a list of closures:
Weather-related WMU closings since 1999

1999, Jan. 4-5--Heavy snowfall delayed the start of spring semester.
2000, Nov. 21-22--Thanksgiving recess began Tuesday because of snow.
2006, Dec. 1--An ice storm downed trees, caused power outages.
2007, Feb. 5--Extreme cold and snow closed many Michigan colleges.
2008, Feb. 1--WMU closed due to snow.
2009, Dec. 10--Blizzard conditions closed WMU.

Funny thing, about half the time I cancel classes because the forecasts say the roads are for shit, WMU ends up agreeing with me. They've even stayed open when they should've closed and caught hell for it, then canceled classes the next day, which turned out to be not bad at all. Go figure.


Around 10pm WMU bowed to the inevitable:

So along with most of the rest of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, we'll both be having a snow day.

The bad news is that the blizzard conditions will persist to as late as 7pm. With drifting, clearing our 250-foot driveway may not be useful.

Probably need to find someone with a plow to come by once on Wednesday and once on Thursday.

Be safe, all those of you who are in either the snow dump or ice coating zones of this storm.

Dr. Phil

The End

Tuesday, 21 December 2010 23:03
dr_phil_physics: (seasons-best-kate)

Drove into the office on Monday of Grading Week. Though the university will close between Christmas and New Year's and they are threatening very cold temps in the buildings with the new thermostat controls in place, it was surprisingly warm in my office. Yay. I've had years when I was waiting for the grader and it was too cold to think, write or type.

Actually, before I got to the office I stopped at the WMU Parking Office to get a new parking sticker. Yeah, as a part-timer I have to get one of these every semester. Except... the clerk was having trouble getting the right menu item and so snagged a passing uniformed Public Safety officer. Turns out as part of the new part-time instructors union, I get to have a regular parking hang tag. Yay! Actually, it's a GH grad student tag -- the contract was accepted too late for Public Safety to make part-timer hang tags for 2010-2011. But this will be really handy, especially on days when I have to drive a different vehicle.

Meanwhile, my erstwhile grader managed to get the final exams and quizzes 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 into my mailbox. Triple-Yay! Nothing like having the papers back and not gnawing the insides of my cheeks waiting for the grader to show, and also inputting the scores and not having to drag papers home. And have them cluttering the house until January.

Monday Night

I had one old pesky quiz to grade, then curve the final, massage the grades. And found myself ready to input the final grades at 11pm. Usually on a school night we'd be tucking in the kitties downstairs, but with vacations looming, I started right in. Later in the night I posted the grade breakdowns on the class webpage. By the time I went to bed I was totally done for my Fall 2010 class. And it wasn't even 11:58am on Tuesday!!! (grin)


Play! I'm off now. Mrs. Dr. Phil is on vacation this week. So we headed off to Celebration Cinema North to see Tron Legacy in IMAX 3D and Harry Potter 7.1. Reviews coming, but it was a fun afternoon.

Now... writing to do.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (wmu-logo)
Grading Continues

My exam grader has informed me via email that the Finals and the last quizzes are now graded -- I'll get them Monday. Yay! That's one nagging worry I can forget about for a while. Sometimes I don't hear from graders for a lo-ong time and it makes me very, very nervous. The hard deadline is Noon on Tuesday -- that's when they shut down the online grading system to start processing Fall semester grading.

And On To Spring 2011 Semester News

Back during the summer, my boss told me he didn't have any classes for me for the fall, but I'd have two sections of the first semester Physics for scientists and engineers, PHYS-2050, for Spring. That was going to be my Sabbatical 1.22. But in fact I did end up with a Fall PHYS-2050 section, so four months of writing didn't happen. (grin)

For the regular semester it's best, given the economics of my long commute, to teach two classes. I agreed to one for the Fall because (a) it kept some money coming in, (b) it gave me a class to teach (!) and a reason to come down to the office (!!) and (c) I was expecting to teach two courses in the Spring. Alas, when contract letters came for Spring, there was only one section. At least it was the 1pm and not the 9am, as I currently have. While a nine o'clock is much better than an unholy eight o'clock, especially in the wintertime, it still has me leaving the house just about the time that Mrs. Dr. Phil is getting up -- and we do like to see each other on a regular basis.

Tuesday my boss said some things were changing and was I up for adding back the 9am section as well. I said sure, though it would be nicer to get a 10 or 11am class. I figured it wouldn't hurt to mention that. Well, there's that adage about the squeaky wheel...

An Upper Division Class

So then it was mentioned that if I was interested I could take the 10am PHYS-4400 Electromagnetism class. Oh well now there's an interesting thought.

Pretty much since I began teaching, I've been doing the introductory Physics courses, including the "third semester of the first year" Modern Physics course, at both Hope College and WMU. Twice I've taught upper division classes -- half of a math physics course at GVSU and a special Solid State Physics course for two zoomer seniors at Hope, using Kittel as a textbook. That last was in 1997. So (a) it's been a while since I taught an upper division class, (b) yes I was interested and (c) it isn't the graduate level course out of Jackson. (evil grin) That last point would be lost on most of you, but suffice to say that while I could probably teach the lectures for a Jackson-based class, there is no way I could do the exams, homework or grading. It's been too long, the materials are really tough and it's too short a notice.

But on Friday, I got an email from my boss wondering if I'd be in the office on Friday or Monday, as he had a revised contract letter for me, and I said I'm here now. And a few minutes later he came upstairs and dropped off the letter.

So... I DO get to teach two courses in the Spring and I DO get to teach a fun new course. (As opposed to teaching PHYS-2050 for the 21st time.) Ten registered so far, a typical load, about 1/3 of the names I recognize from first year courses without even doing a search of previous classlists -- all juniors and seniors. Already arranged to get a desk copy of the textbook shipped to the P.O. Box, rather than languishing in the university's mail room over break. (crafty grin)

All in all, a very pleasant way to end Fall semester's finals week. Now, back to grading papers...

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (wmu-logo)
That Smell? It's Finals Fear

It's Finals Week here at Western Michigan University. Finals are two hours long and close packed together with a whole fifteen minutes between sessions. The very first time slot was Monday 8-10am. And guess what? That was the scheduled time for my PHYS-2050 MTWRF 9am class.

Now this is good news, because statistically students do better when the Final falls in their normal class time, which this does. Bad news, because who the hell wants to have a Final at 8am in the bloody morning? For me, I had decided long ago that it would be easier if I would just drive down to K-zoo on Sunday afternoon and stay overnight in a motel, rather than trying to get up at 4am and then driving down in the dark. This plan looked to be real genius as the big Midwest winter storm rolled through.

Not The Walloping That Minneapolis or Syracuse Got

But during the weekend it rained. Sunday morning the roads were wet and the temp still just above freezing. By 2pm, the temps were 25°F and dropping, and it was starting to snow lightly -- and the winds were picking up. Overnight a couple of inches was forecast, along with gusting over 40mph and zero-ish wind chills. Temps were going to be in the teens, below the effective temperature for the road salt chemicals. Peachy. When I left, the roads were already shiny -- you could get up to speed, but stopping was clearly an adventure, as were poorly advised high speed turns onto the highway from the side streets that I kept seeing. The anti-lock brakes chattered every time I had to slow for a stop light. Gear it down, 4WD, no driving like an idiot -- and it worked pretty well.

The communities right along the lakeshore have been repeatedly clobbered by lake effect snows. But some ten miles inland in Allendale, mostly all we've gotten is to see this wall of snow clouds off to the west.

Made It, Now What?

Eventually made it to Kalamazoo, mostly 10-15 mph below the posted speed limits -- only saw one accident on the side of the road. Before I'd left home I'd printed out the Kalamazoo 10 movie schedule, as that multiplex is just across the road from the Super 8 I was going to stay at. I'd hoped that maybe RED was still playing, as Mrs. Dr. Phil had seen it with her mom a while ago and I hadn't. But no. However, I checked into my room at 4:15pm and had plenty of time to make a 4:45pm showing of Tangled, the new Disney Rapunzel movie -- very cute. Came out of the theatre and had to brush off about two inches of very, very fine diamond dust snow off one side of the vehicle.

I'd gone ahead and made a reservation -- it was $49.44 at the Super 8 Motel site with AAA... and $50 at Motels.com -- but there may have been only one other guest staying there, based on the cars parked. (grin) Super 8 isn't a posh chain, but it's adequate. The Panasonic TV had a Zenith remote, probably with the wrong code number, as the volume controls worked but not the change channel. The room had one of those window A.C. units with a space heater in it -- the TV needed the volume up to 13 when the fan was on, 4-6 when it was off. Luckily, I did have the remote volume control. (double-jeopardy-grin) Watched some football, saw the finale of The Amazing Race and a new Series III Inspector Lewis on PBS.

There were a couple of tables and chairs in the lobby for the advertised continental breakfast. If you liked dehydrated blueberries, you had your choice of blueberry bagels or blueberry muffins. They had one of those close-and-flip circular waffle makers, but no batter and no one around. The cereal choices looked to be no-name Fruity-Ohs and nondescript corn flakages. I had a bagel with Philadelphia cream cheese. The guy in the white pickup I thought was the other guest pulled up to the door, came in and piled four muffins in a foam cereal bowl, and left. It was something. If I was desperate for a "real" breakfast, I could've driven five buildings down to the 24-hour Steak-n-Shake, which would've done fine real pancakes, but I passed. Besides, I bring cookies to my exams -- and name brand cookies for Finals.

A Clear Windy Dawn

I was prepared to dig the Blazer out in the morning, but not a lot of snow actually fell overnight. And the winds pretty much kept the windows clear. I thought the window washer jets were frozen, but later found that I was just out of blue fluid. Overhead was sparkling clear. Despite the bitter cold, the actual main streets were clear and wet. Side streets were slippery. I'd worried about what time they'd open the buildings up. But I got in around 7:20am and found both the classroom and the offices buildings unlocked, so didn't have to play ID card roulette and find out if my ID card was or was not currently programmed to open the doors after hours. (As a part-timer, they are always deleting us after one semester, but sometimes after they've added us for the new semester.)

And my finals were copied and left in the lock-up as expected. And amazingly, 52 students were there at 8am, out of 56 who'd taken Exam 3. 1 showed up at 8:10, and I knew 1 student was stuck in the U.P. with a breakdown and no mechanics open on the weekend. Of course I told everyone the storm was coming and that they shouldn't go out of town for the weekend, but they never listen to Dr. Phil. That errant student is taking his final as I type -- he's got about 17 minutes to go.

By the time I was heading back to Allendale at 2:30pm, it was blue skies, bright sunshine and dry main roads. Still a ground hugging vision of snow clouds off at the Lake Michigan shore, but we weren't getting the snow on Monday.

Now it's all over except for the grading. (triple-word-score-grin)

Dr. Phil

July The First

Thursday, 1 July 2010 22:36
dr_phil_physics: (canada-flag)
It's July 1st!

That means it's the first day of classes for the WMU Summer-II Session and at noon, the first day of my PHYS-2070 University Physics II / Electricity & Magnetism (w/ calculus) class. Summer classes mean double-length 100 minutes, so we did the Introduction to Dr. Phil, the Good News / Bad News of going from student friendly first semester Mechanics to less previous experience E&M. (grin) Also the 14 page syllabus. And the tale of Electricity & Magnetism is the Triumph of 19th century Physics -- plus Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Yup, effectively the first two days of class. (summer-class-grin)

It's July 1st!

And Redstone Science Fiction is back open to submissions for fifteen days -- for those of you who care about such things.

It's July 1st!

And except for a few roof cap shingles -- or whatever they're called -- that they were short, we just about have a new roof on our house. Yay new roof. Details to follow.

It's July 1st!

And on the Tor.com email newsletter, they had this amusing comment:
Fun factoid: the epic Isner-Mahut tennis match at Wimbledon lasted longer than all three Lord of the Rings theatrical releases; by the time Isner won, after eleven hours and five minutes of play, they were just twenty minutes short of lasting as long as the special editions. That's some serious warrior spirit.

It's July 1st!

Oh, and it's Canada Day. Happy Canada Day, Canada!

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
I've Been Pretty Scarce Online Lately

This should've been a week full of activities, including finishing posting about the Olympics and other stuff. And writing. Lots of writing. Alas, twas not to be. And -- ack! -- it's all my fault:
I've got a list of way too many things to do next week. But after Monday, the weather looks sunny and warm -- in the upper 30s -- for the rest of the week. So we'll see what I can accomplish. And at the moment, I don't have a cold and my sinuses are in much better shape than the last couple of years.

I always seem to get sick over breaks. I should never have mentioned I was healthy.

February Ends

Last Sunday I got up and soon found that it was uncomfortable to sit up in a straight chair. Some sort of intestinal thing made me very bloated and gassy and feeling constipated. And all that was putting pressure on a nerve or strain on a muscle. Dammit.

See -- let's look at the things I wanted to accomplish during Spring Break: Writing on the computer. Sorting and cleaning papers on the dining room table. Ditto for the kitchen desk, which suffered an avalanche over Christmas. Driving around on errands to a couple of places. Going out during the day for a movie or two. Setting up one of the small portable computers on the kitchen counter with the external CD-ROM drive and doing some software installs. Grading some quizzes I brought home with me. Or driving down to K-zoo this weekend to see some of the U.S. National Curling Championships. (!!)

Guess which ones of those activities involve sitting up straight? Yup. All of them.

A Week of Minimal Results

Three weeks before I had something intestinal for a day. But this was dragging on, so Monday I called and got an appointment with the doctor for Tuesday. Wasn't running a fever. And after a long time, finally got some "movement" going in the old lower GI tract. But whatever tweaked or strained that muscle was doing some lingering. As is typical, best way to feel better is to make a doctor's appointment. He checked all manner of things, but no real culprits stood out. Basic GI upset likely to be some sort of a virus. And I hadn't even gone on a Caribbean cruise! (snort) Still not 100%, but I can sit and type now. Did drive up to Chevy on Thursday and get an oil change on the 1996 Blazer and I spent Friday afternoon wandering off to Holland MI on errands.

So a few things got checked off on my Things To Do list late during Spring Break.

The Good News

But really, this is all rather good news for me. Because think of it. Imagine spending most of a week being hideously uncomfortable trying to drive an hour and a half each way, sitting in the office being stiff and in pain. Or worse, not being able to teach. Much better for my students for this to happen during a scheduled down period anyway. Which is why I am always a big fan of serendipity.

And frankly, the weather has been mostly blue sky and bright sun and temps in the upper 30s and low 40s all week, as the thick ice in the driveway has slowly eroded and melted away. Pretty. Restoring for the spirit, I imagine. (grin)

But I'm annoyed at the lack of writing time. That's lost time which is hard to recover. Dammit. (grin)

Dr. Phil

Spurt Day

Friday, 26 February 2010 23:07
dr_phil_physics: (wmu-logo)
Friday 26 February 2010

Yes, once again it's WMU's Spirit Day. That magical day which was once before Homecoming in the Fall Semester, but was moved to the Spring Semester to balance the calendar and now allows them to "not" start Spring Break in February. (grin)

So... today was not a work day.

Recovery Day

It's been a long and busy week-to-ten-days or so. Though Spring Break showed up on the calendar at about the same time as in 2009, we started classes a week later, so it's been tough to keep up with a schedule and be ready for Exam 2 on time for Thursday. We made it. And then there's been the roads, which have included a number of days of either very long commutes or very icy glazes on the roads and long lists of crashes and slideoffs. Last night I found myself shimmying around on the highway when hit by hard crosswinds -- thank goodness for 4WD. It's not magic, but it does add stability to all four corners. We managed to get to/fro work as well.

Took the opportunity to get some extra sleep today, but also managed to catch the Women's Bronze Medal Curling match between China and Switzerland on USA network. Ran out to do some errands and was amazed at 3:21pm on the way to the bank to hear on WLAV-FM that the Men's Hockey Semi-Final between USA and Finland was already 4-0 in the 1st Period. Eek! A few minutes later on the way home and they reported that Finland had changed goalies and it was now 6-0. Still in the 1st Period.

Back End Of The Storm

Unusual weather pattern had us getting the back curl of the big Northeastern winter storm. It came at around noon with big soft flakes. Nothing like they got in New York, where 6-12" of fluffy white stuff was covering a thick, deadly heavy water soaked layer of wet snow. The heavy stuff was weighing heavily on the trees in Central Park, where one tree limb broke and killed a guy, and another tree limb took out a city bus before they closed Central Park to vehicles and pedestrians. [livejournal.com profile] slithytove in Philadelphia described a lovely wintry scene outside, without the heavy wet stuff where he lives.

Sometimes if there is no traffic on a snowy day like today I'll put on the four-way flashers and stop in the left hand lane to get the newspaper and mail from the road. But there was too much traffic, so I pulled into our driveway. A Chevy Astro van, which had been following me, pulled over to the side of the road... and was quickly enveloped in a huge cloud. Coolant. The young lady driving it was grousing about almost being where she needed to go, it was the second time there'd been a leak, she'd just put in a bottle of Stop Leak and what was she expecting for a beat up van she'd paid all of $100 for within the last two weeks. Her friend was coming to get her -- I suspect it was one of the nearby motorheads and they'd be much more capable of helping her than me -- so I wished her luck and told her if she was stuck out there for any length of time to come up to the house. I heard her hood slam when I was getting out of the Blazer in the garage, but couldn't see anything through the trees. She never came by and Mrs. Dr. Phil said there was no van on the shoulder when she came home. I hope it works out okay for her.

Spring "Break"?

I've got a list of way too many things to do next week. But after Monday, the weather looks sunny and warm -- in the upper 30s -- for the rest of the week. So we'll see what I can accomplish. And at the moment, I don't have a cold and my sinuses are in much better shape than the last couple of years.

There may be some news next week -- or maybe not. You can never tell with these things.

We'll see.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
Buyer's Remorse?

I hate trying to call a snow day 24 hours in advance. About the half the time it's an easy call -- as the university ends up agreeing with me. (grin) My theory on Tuesday was "if the roads were this bad before the bulk of the snow fell and the wind picked up tonight, that the roads were going to be bad and worse on Wednesday". And Tuesday night the roads were filled with slideoffs and crashes.

This morning at 6:30am it didn't seem so bad outside, but there were still more than six hours left to the advisories. I-94 near Kalamazoo, which admittedly I don't have to go as far as, ended up closed in two places due to crashes, including one with three semi-trucks with one overturned. Kalamazoo Valley Community College, out by I-94 and Ninth Street, closed last night and canceled classes today as well. But KVCC really is pretty isolated and the winds can be dreadful out there.

At one point WGVU was listing nearly 200 school closures. Allendale, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo schools closed. But school snow days were also a function that today was scheduled to be the schools' second Count Day -- the census of numbers of students attending determines 25% of their next year's funding. The state sent out a memo to school administrators yesterday that they could postpone Count Day by a day if the weather warranted it. I'm sure some of the schools wanted to avoid anything which could diminish their census count.

By 9am, there was bright sun shining in through my living room window. Did I make a mistake? Well, I know from the traffic reports up to 9am that the major highways were reduced to one lane each way. And from previous winters, I can safely predict that the wind they were reporting would be crossing those lanes from east to west, adding to the slipperiness.

So... I probably could've made it to the office today, and certainly back home at night. But I don't know how messy it was in Kalamazoo yet or the problems my students would have getting in to class. And with 4½ hours of driving yesterday, it certainly seemed to be a trend.

Do I feel bad for declaring a Personal Snow Day? Hell no. Sometimes you have to make a call.

Anyway, It Doesn't Matter

The real news is that part of this storm which is hammering the East Coast again. Poor Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia getting whomped on a second time, and I guess New York City will be dumped on this time. Michigan, which can only report some snow, a lot of wrecks and slideoffs and three deaths -- is old news.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (kate-winter-coat)
... Or Slipped and Fell (grin)

Our storm arrived slyly and subtly in the morning. Winter Weather Watch started at 7am and by 7am there was a very slight dusting of snow. Except what they hadn't counted on was the freezing rain and drizzle which preceded it, which meant that the snow froze into ice and slushy freezy stuff which the early commuters began to slither around on. We'd had so many days of clear weather, that the news last night assured everyone that the local highway crews had plenty of salt, chemicals, time and overtime available. And that they'd be on the early snow with chemicals to keep it from freezing.

Apparently not.

The drive in was slow, the roads quite slickery. Along the way I saw numerous vehicles sitting in odd places in the medians and off the sides of the road. Kept speeds to around 40-55mph. It took 2 hours 15 minutes to get in, roughly an hour longer than usual. One real mess somewhere around Martin MI, I guess. Traffic slowed, I could see the left hand lane was blocked by a police cruiser, so we all moved over to the right. Except for a few yahoos who had to rush to the front of the line. And one minivan who apparently was oblivious to all the stopped cars, because at one point I glanced in my mirror and realized there was a minivan spun out in the median -- braked too hard on slick roads, methinks. One of the tow trucks lined up to clear the aforementioned mess ahead backed up and pulled the idiots out of the median.

Fire and rescue and police lined up to assist.

On the left was a pickup truck with its front smashed in (inset) -- the other side was much worse, completely flattened. One suspects it was run over or against this truck.

It seemed to me that if the roads were this bad before the bulk of the snow fell and the wind picked up tonight, that the roads were going to be bad and worse on Wednesday. That and we haven't had many winter storms lately, so I imagined that many of the local drivers were going to forget how to drive on this stuff and make everything worse. So rather than keep my students in suspense, I pulled the trigger as soon as I got in and informed everyone that I was not tempting the roads tomorrow. Classes canceled.

The Drive Homeward

The snow on the Blazer when I got out at nearly 4:30pm was quite wet -- the temp had risen closer to the freezing/melting mark -- so it slid off the metal and glass quite easily. But it also made a thickening slurry on the ground that was hard to walk on and obviously difficult to drive on. Couldn't believe this one person being interviewed on the radio saying something along the lines of the snow storm being a bust, because the snow total wasn't all that large yet. This as the road reports were quoting the local counties as saying that the slide offs, rollovers and crashes were "too numerous to count".

Long line of traffic backed up for miles going the other way at the Kent/Allegan County border, due to a wreck which had smashed and spilled the contents of one of those fragile sheet metal snowmobile trailers across the lanes. It is nice that my commute goes against the grain of most Grand Rapids commuters. Note Rodney supervising the driving on the dashboard.

Taking the 270° loop from US-131 north to M-6 west at 25-30mph, I noticed a lot of tire tracks in the slush sliding off to either side or making spinning patterns. Except for one set which made a rather severe angle of departure to the inside curve. Sighting down the lines which went over the edge of the shoulder, I realized there was a minivan down in the bowl of the interchange, some 30-50 feet down. Huh. "I don't think you're supposed to be drivin' down there, y'hear?"

The Last Miles

Heading up the hill toward Mottman's on M-45, there was a bottleneck similar to one I had the other night due to a crash. But this time it was due to a ½-wheel drive vehicle barely moving in the left hand lane up the hill. As I passed it, I noticed a very visible line in the slush from the right side as the front wheel drive car had lost its traction and was spinning its right front wheel and its differential not giving any power to the left side. The driver was continuing to floor it and spin the wheel rather than stop, pull over to either side, or try to drive on the shoulder. Skinny so-called high gas mileage tires, probably with an inadequate or worn down tread pattern. Yeah, the weather and roads have been clear for too long the last couple of weeks.

By the time I got to 84th Avenue, the winds were beginning to pick up out of the east and the road was mostly one set of tire tracks in the middle of the two lanes, as drifting began to fill things in. Yeah, and I'm not putting out the garbage can at the road tonight either.

It took me 2:15 to get home, too.

Dr. Phil

A Pleasant Day

Tuesday, 9 February 2010 01:18
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
The Calm Before The Storm?

West Michigan has missed several of the storms which have swept across the country since Christmas. This past weekend, West Virginia, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia got hammered with a couple of feet of snow -- and may get another round. Grand Rapids saw a little flakeage out that big storm, but Allendale didn't even get the flakes. It all tracked south of us.

So today was a hazy blue sky sunny day. Started out at 16°F or so, warmed up to near 32°F. Roads clear and dry. Parking lots still have some ice in areas and our driveway has a good ice and snow layer base. Otherwise, 2WD all the way. Ah, but not all of life is sunshine and hazy blue skies. The next storm will be getting us.

This is not to one up all those areas who've been clobbered this winter. But it makes it difficult to plan for my classes this week. Decided that Quiz 7, which had been due on Tuesday, is now due on Thursday. Don't want anyone injured or inconvenienced just to get one 15,000 point quiz in. Besides, it involves a six capacitor network reduction problem -- they probably can use the extra time. (grin)

So our Winter Weather Advisory, now upgraded to a Winter Weather Watch, starts at 7am on Tuesday morning and runs til 1pm on Wednesday afternoon. Grand Rapids is in the 8-10" total band, while Kalamazoo could get 12-14". Winds could be 25-40mph Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Tuesday's commute and teaching should be okay. But with the winds, I'm not so sure about Wednesday. I'd cancel classes now, even if WMU didn't close, except West Michigan weather is so capricious. So we'll see...

It Was A Very Pleasant Day

Blue and Sam, our remaining pair of cats, were very nice today. Extra snuggles in the morning, evening and when we put them to bed in the kitty room downstairs. They've been having some sneezing from a kitty cold, but they both seem to be getting better. Purr-rrrrr.

No doubt they want us to have a snow day on Wednesday, too. (double-grin)

Dr. Phil


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