TITLE: Coming Up For Air AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: March 06, 2009 8:01 PM DESC: ----- BODY: I have spent nearly every working minute this week sitting in front of this laptop, preparing a bunch of documents for an "academic program assessment" that is being done campus-wide at my university. Unfortunately, that makes this week Strike Two. Last October: no OOPSLA for me. This week: no SIGCSE for me. The next pitch arrives at the plate in about a month... Will there be no ChiliPLoP for me? That would be an inglorious Strike Three indeed. It would break my equivalent of DiMaggio's streak: I have never missed a ChiliPLoP. But budget rescissions, out-of-state travel restrictions, and work, work, work are conspiring against me. I intend to make my best effort. Say a little prayer. I hope that you can survive my missing SIGCSE, as it will mean no reports from the front. Of course, you will notice two missing links on my 2008 report, so I do have some material in the bullpen! Missing SIGCSE was tougher than usual, because this year I was to have been part of the New Teaching Faculty Roundtable on the day before the conference opened. I was looking forward to sharing what little wisdom I have gained in all my years teaching -- and to stealing as many good ideas as I could from the other panelists. Seeing all of the firepower on the roster of mentors, I have no doubts that the roundtable was a great success for the attendees. I hope SIGCSE offers the roundtable again next year. Part of my working day today was spent in Cedar Rapids, an hour south of here. Some of you may recall that Cedar Rapids was devastated by flooding last summer, when much of the eastern part of the state was under 500-year flood waters. I surprised and saddened to see that so much of the downtown area still suffers the ill effects of the water. The public library is still closed while undergoing repair. But I was heartened to see a vibrant city rebuilding itself. A branch library has been opened at a mall on the edge of town, and it was buzzing with activity. You know, having a library in the mall can be a good thing. It is perhaps more a part of some people's lives than a dedicated building in the city, and it serves as a nice counterpoint to the consumption and noise outside the door. Besides, I had easy access to excellent wireless service out in mall area even before the library opened, and easy access to all the food I might want whenever I needed to take a break. Alas, I really did spend nearly every working minute this week sitting in front of this laptop, so I worked my way right up to dinner time and a welcome drive home. -----