You'd think that with the holidays I'd have more time for blogging on LJ/DW, and I have a number of things I need to blog about, but this year we once again traveled down to Greensboro NC to visit my mom. That's two days of driving down and two back, plus the days spent in G'boro. Plus the day we delayed after Christmas to allow Winter Storm Euclid to slide on south of us through Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia. That was a day delay well spent -- other than a couple of flakes we saw in the last hours of the drive home, and I do mean flakes, we had decent driving weather.
The New Semester and Such
Classes began on Monday the seventh. Once again teaching two classes -- PHYS-1070 Elementary Physics (for the 26th time) and PHYS-2050 University Physics I (for the 22nd time). About a hundred in the one and seventy-five in the other. In 1110 Rood, the "regular" Physics lecture hall, which has railings along the stairs, which are a big help. (grin)
It's funny how we get into routines and rhythms. Last two semesters I taught, I had classes at noon and 1pm. This time it's 10am and 1pm. (1) I have to get up earlier -- ugh. Haven't done a 6am wakeup every day in a couple of years, it takes some getting used to, especially since my "perfect" timing has me going to bed at 4am. (evil grin) (2) The last two semesters I'd finish my two classes and have my lunch about 2pm. So... why is it that my Pavlovian response to leaving my first class at 11am is that I'm hungry? And I can barely "make it" to noon before I get out my sandwich? We are such creatures of habit.
At least I now have a handicapped parking hangtag, so I don't have to walk from across most of the Lot 61 when I get in.
Gas fell down to $3.18.9/gal for regular the other day. AND we had another grocery store 50¢/gal discount coupon, which miraculously Mrs. Dr. Phil was able to use to fill the Bravada with on Monday morning -- before gas shot up to $3.38.9/gal. For once the discount coupon didn't go to make up the price jump. (supreme evil grin)
I was looking at my blog entries from early 2012 last night and I was screaming NO-OOOOOO! as the gasoline pundits were predicting $4 and $5 gas by the summer. Saying such things aloud gives them carte blanche to go ahead and do it, don't you know? So today they said that we were unlikely to have $4 gasoline through about June. Don't worry, some excuse will come along to ruin the summer vacation driving season.
A Pleasant Review
Yesterday I had a few minutes before class to kill, so Googled myself looking for reviews of my stories. Found one from November by a Hungarian blogger named Bogi (Boglárka) Takács, for my story "End Run" on Giganotosaurus. I really enjoyed her review, because she "got it" in terms of what I am trying to do with my military SF stories.
I thought this would be one of those "we are trying to emulate Golden Age SF" stories which I find deathly boring, but it wasn't. Instead of the glorious space military yadda yadda, it was surprisingly slice-of-life, and the plot revolved around an engineering mishap. I found that so refreshing! Yes, things go wrong - sometimes in really mundane ways, but still with spectacular (and horrifying) results. Space SF either tries to be blandly perfect or absurdly gritty, it's always good to see a story that manages to present a more balanced and realistic future.
Imagine my surprise when Jim C. Hines mentioned Bogi Takács' blog in his updated Hugo Best Fan Writer nominations musings. And the World-SF blog also wrote today about looking beyond North American borders for the Hugo Best Fan Writer noms. I've added Takács to my Blogger reader.
It's a small world out there. Big, and small.