Thursday, September 06, 2012


Friday Fragments

This year, for the first time, we made new student orientation mandatory. By “mandatory,” I mean that a new student who doesn’t attend any of the orientation sessions would get his schedule dropped.  (Obviously, we had to run a whole bunch of sessions on different days and times, so we did.) People on campus keep commenting on how unusually smooth the first few days of class have been.  I can’t prove it yet, but it's almost as if there's some sort of connection between students being prepared, and students having fewer last-minute emergencies. We've also noticed that the sun tends to rise in the East. Sometimes it's the obvious stuff that helps.


The Girl:  Mom, do you ever see things when you close your eyes?

The Wife:  Yup.

TG  [The Boy] says it's your mind.

TW:  It's your imagination.

TG:  Right now my imagination is orange.


TW received an award from the local teachers' union for her work putting together the 5k fundraiser last spring. The kids and I attended, and I have to admit that it was a blast to see her get a standing ovation from an auditorium full of people.  And it was fun to be able to spend an entire “annual kickoff” meeting sitting in the audience.


The second-to-last draft of the book manuscript is in. Naturally, the very next morning I thought of an entire chapter to add. Deadlines are good for production, but there's something about the day after a deadline that's good for inspiration. This, in a nutshell, is my argument against Intelligent Design.


Kevin Carey’s recent piece on Silicon Valley and higher education is a must-read.  Check it out if you haven’t already.


In our first new semester after the “ability to benefit” test went away, the first-blush results indicate a relatively minor impact.  I admit being pleasantly surprised.  Even the lowest level ESL classes are full; I expected that they would take a severe hit.  No explanation, at this point, but sometimes it’s nice to be wrong.


BWI airport is falsely named. It's Baltimore. There's no non-awful way to get to DC from there. At least Newark has the common decency to call itself Newark, instead of New York City South.  

This, in a nutshell, is my argument against Intelligent Design.

Pregnancy and childbirth are the argument against intelligent design. Just sayin'
Proposal deadlines inspire a similar clarity of thought, particularly after hitting the submit button.

There's no non-awful way to get to DC from (BWI)...

This depends on the definition of awful. A 2 mi walk or a free shuttle ride can get you to the BWI rail station, and then the MARC connects up to Union Station in DC. Then buying Metro tickets when there is a political rally going on will be awful.

I thin pregnancy and childbirth could as easily be proof of a malignant intelligent designer.

I completely agree about deadlines.
Those of us who live near BWI find it super easy to get to DC. And you know it's a better airport than Dulles or Reagan.
BWI: MARC or Amtrak are the way to go during weekdays, and note that MARC trains no longer break down on days of the week ending in 'y'. Besides, try getting from Dulles to DC.

BWI is 31 miles from the Capitol and takes 53mins by car in mid-afternoon; Dulles Washington Intl is 28 miles from the Capitol and takes 45mins by car in mid-afternoon.
Regarding BWI (apparently the most compelling part of this post), I generally agree that getting to DC is awful. The car ride is not all that long as the crow flies, but the problem around here is never miles - it's traffic. It can take you an hour to drive to D.C. if the Traffic Gods are on your side, or it can take you two and a half hours if there was an accident earlier that day. Or if it's raining. Or if you have the misfortune of landing during "rush hour" (Which, in the region, lasts about 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening and somehow becomes harder to avoid every year.)

The MARC route works and it less stressful than driving, but it takes a bit of time, especially if your destination is not near Union Station. And I'm not sure if MARC runs very frequently, or at all, on the weekends.

But it's awful to get to D.C. from Dulles, too. Though it will be moderately less awful when (if) the Silver Line ever finishes out there.

The only truly convenient airport is National. Of course, it's also home of the most expensive flights in and out of the region. No coincidence there.
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