Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lest I forget this funny bit


It was two thousand and six or seven in the home of a friend who was greatly relieved to have his PhD and a sane life working at a technology development company.
He marveled that whereas at his new work the tiniest theoretical fact accomplished big solutions, in the grad school days Professor X would build up this fantastic solution - you know cute definitions, brilliant lemmas, leading to the eventual short proof (QED, Al-hamdulillah) - leading the student to ask Bill (Professor X) for an example, any topology, in which you can apply this theorem.
My friend's punchline? Professor X answers earnestly after a second's thought "Consider a square (of dimension) 1 by 1."

It was autumn of two thousand in the year before graduate school when My Good-Looking Prof. reported this from his own grad school days:
Professor X walks into class and starts to write all available chalkboard sections full of math, while MGLP is stomped, simply not getting it.
Of course the other students are nodding as if to say "well, obviously, we understand."
MGLP decides he really doesn't understand and raises his hand. "Professor" - now Professor X stops and turns around - "I really wonder what this thing means..."
X looks back at the board and quickly apologizes, "Oh Shit, I write it in German!"

Coming soon: I'll scan a picture from the summer of 2001 of my first impressions/expectations of grad school. I had visited Pasadena, and the Western US, for the first time in March of the same year and was to return in September. It was an encounter with a whole new world and as usual I was seriously excited.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

SMS Virgin


I just sent my first couple of text messages. I typed them in online in Skype. I don't have a cell phone and had never sent a text message (though when I had a cell people occasionally sent them.) Trying to use all the cool Skype services because cell phones irk me. Conversely I love land lines and old phones and of course the internet and internet phone.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep


Having a ball in Nigeria. I'll be working at the Federal University of Technology in Yola, Adamawa State. I've always wanted to have students...seriously going to rock this party!

This is also the year of my NYSC, so just got out of the three-week orientation camp in Adamawa yesterday, and the work at FUTY is my Youth Service posting - I report for duty today and will be here until August 2009. The university is not really in Yola, as the name suggests, but nearly an hour away in Girei Local Government area, near Jimeta the business capital of the region.

Loving Adamawa so far. It's serene, green, hot, and the nights bring so many stars.

There's so much I could write about from camp - what a crazy time - but you know I'm more likely to chat about it one-on-one than do a long blog post. Briefly,
Pros of NYSC Camp: I got stronger/fitter, got a crash course in Nigeria, a great excuse to see Northern Nigeria and to get this university gig, met hundreds of awesome people and had some great discussions, kissed in Nigeria etc.
Challenges of NYSC Camp: eeeew the "toilets", no US Open tennis news, ...

Come on over and check out the pastoral splendour and colourful cultures of the Adamawa highlands and river valleys. Bring friends. Seriously. Let me know when.