Monday, August 22, 2011

My morning in pictures

Ah, the first day of the Fall semester. My game programming class meets at 8am. Let me tell you about the morning so far.

I came into the Math lounge to put my lunch into the refrigerator. I pulled it out of my backpack and slung my backpack up onto my shoulder. Not having latched my bag shut, my favorite mug fell from it and shattered into a million pieces on the ground.

Favorite mug, before the accident
I picked up the bigger pieces, cutting my finger in the process, then asked the receptionist in the Math department to call custodial to get the rest of the shards.

Returning to my office, I realized I still had my lunch bag in my hand, so then I went back and put it in the 'fridge.

I poured my coffee from my travel mug into the back-up mug in my office, my good-old ACM mug.

Old Faithful
A bit of background on my morning coffee: Last night, I noticed that both of my french presses were in the dishwasher, which was nigh full, and I expected that the dishwasher would be run overnight. Of course, I did not actually run it, and so in the morning, I was left without a clean press. My backup plan was already in place: use my cold-brew coffee concentrate! I mixed it with some boiling water and half-and-half, and that's what I brought to the office with me. The result was that when I tested the coffee, it was not quite as hot as I would have liked.

Problem easily solved. I went into the CS conference room to put my coffee in the microwave...

Conference room microwave, outside

and when I opened the door, I saw this:

Conference room microwave, inside

Well, ick. The red sludge looks like jam to me, like someone tried to microwave a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, realized it was a bad idea, and left the detritus behind. By this point, it was already about 7:55,  and I didn't want to dally—I just wanted hot coffee. I went ahead and put my mug in for 30 seconds, hoping it wouldn't come out tasting of smoked jam. When I opened the door after thirty seconds, a little flying insect came out of the microwave. Can that even happen?

I took the coffee out of the microwave and headed down to my classroom, a cozy little room we call RB104. It's a conventional "smart classroom," meaning there's a projector, dongles for attaching a laptop, and a badly designed teaching kiosk. Some of the students were waiting outside the door, so I proceeded to unlock the door with my key. In fact, I locked the door, which I only discovered after unsuccessfully trying to open it; it had been unlocked from the beginning. Properly unlocking the door and flipping on the lights, here's what I saw when I came in:

The land that custodians forgot
This is 8AM on the first day of classes for the semester, and there's a pile of crap on the desk! Notice that there are two unclaimed notebooks from at least the Summer session, though I think it might be from last Spring, since they looked familiar. Let's take a closer look at that pile on the near side of the table.

The mess of cables is normal for the room. There's cabling for the mouse, ethernet, and video. They are sitting on top of a discarded notebook, beside the room's nonfunctional remote control. On the left is a chunk of chalk, an uneaten but ratty-looking Ricola, and a small leaf.

The real winner, however, is this thing, from the middle of the table.

What is that thing?
I moved the mouse next to it for scale. I'll say it again: What is that thing? At first I thought it was a wad of candle wax that had been handled by someone with soot-covered fingers. It looks kind of like a big ugly toenail. I really have no idea. I did not touch it.

After cleaning up the desk, I plugged in my laptop to the projector and found that the autofocus was not working. A friendly student adjusted it manually from the middle of the room.

The good news is that everything got better from here. I talked to my students about how I got interested and involved in game development, showed them some of my and past students' work, and talked about the goals for the semester. They seem a good sort, and despite a rocky start, I think it will be a good semester.

Good morning!


  1. A healthy dose of optimism can perk up that crummy coffee. Good luck this semester.


  2. Maybe ACM mug has an attachment complex and superpowers.

    I also considered getting you a backpack with a working zipper, but have since seen Ol' Backy in the hall closet.

  3. I had to bring in my laptop "backpack", which only has the clasp and no zipper, because it had all the accessories I needed for class today. I much prefer Ol' Backy for the regular back-and-forth.