Gas station without pumps

2019 June 17

Grading done!

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 16:04
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I’ve just finished about 3 weeks of all-day 7-days-a-week grading, and I’ve filed my grades for the quarter.  I’m now ready for a 6-month break before I start grading again.

This past week has been particularly stressful, as our water heater failed (again) on Tuesday, and I had to find a decent plumber as well as making doing with cold showers for a week.  The new water heater should be installed tomorrow.

I now have time to think about what I’ll try to get done this summer and fall, both personally and professionally.  Here is a partial to-do list, in no particular order:

  • Review senior portfolios for about 50 graduating seniors.
  • Rewrite the Applied Analog Electronics textbook.  I have about 161 to-do notes left in the book from teaching the last two quarters—some from student comments, some from observations made while grading.
  • Read the Student Evaluation of Teaching forms for both quarters and think about how to improve the class based on them.  This will probably require a beer or two, as I know that some of the students really hated the class (based on anonymous comments on Piazza).  I’ll wait on that until my stress level has gone down a bit, or I won’t be receptive to even the good ideas.
  • Design a senior project involving testing hearing aids—perhaps contacting faculty at the hearing-aid research center at DTU.  Maybe visit DTU in Copenhagen?
  • Visit my dad in Boulder.
  • Get a new range hood installed (I promised this to my wife last summer).
  • Get a new refrigerator (the old one is rusty and the interior light doesn’t work)
  • Get a new desktop computer and monitor—perhaps a Mac mini?
  • Remove the ivy and blackberry vines in the backyard (that is a never-ending project, as the vines have covered about 50′ by 20′ to almost head height)
  • Clean solar panels
  • Fix my desk lamp (the one I made)—the copper tubing has suffered from metal fatigue, partly as a result of the cat playing with it and bending it over.  I’m trying to decide between remaking the copper supports (out of copper tubing again) or soldering on copper pieces to splint the fatigued part.
  • Mow the front lawn (easy! I can do it in an hour or two next weekend)
  • Mow the back lawn (probably impossible)
  • Sort all my old screws, bolts, and nuts by size and put them in accessible storage boxes.
  • Clear the breakfast-room floor of electronics, magazines, catalogs, … that have accumulated while I was grading.
  • Clear the bedroom floor of hardware, books, magazines, and stuff that has accumulated over the last decade.  But where will I put it all?
  • Replace the soap dishes in the bathroom (I like the design of one that has cracked, but I can’t find another like it).
  • Hire someone to haul the truck load of debris on my driveway to the dump.
  • Get an architect to design wheelchair access to my house (I don’t need it, and hope I never will, but I’d rather it were in place before I need it).
  • Get a new gate designed, built, and installed on the driveway.  The old one rotted away, so I’m thinking of going with concrete pillars and a steel gate this time, instead of redwood.
  • Clean solar panels.
  • Clear leaves, twigs, and dirt out of gutters.
  • Install path lights, if I can find any that look decent.
  • Get my annual eye exam (6 months overdue).
  • Get a physical therapist or sports-medicine specialist to advise me how to run without exacerbating my hip osteoarthritis.
  • Join a gym and learn to use fitness equipment (for example, I’d like to learn to run on a tilted treadmill, so that I can do a stress echocardiogram test without fearing for my balance).
  • Repaint the garage door (scrape, sand, prime, paint)
  • Paint the book room door.
  • Fix or replace garage-door opener.
  • Spot sand and apply Danish oil to wood floor where old finish has worn away.
  • Do some robotics—perhaps continuing work on the bot I started for the mechatronics class, perhaps a balance bot, perhaps making a board for precisely positioning the gear motors that I have, perhaps a drawbot, perhaps a true digital clock with mechanical digits.
  • Find something useful to make with my 3D printer.
  • Do some weaving—I’ve not woven in over a decade, but I still have a lot of yarn and looms taking up a big chunk of the house.
  • Figure out what charities (or political organizations) to give more money to.
  • Look for something interesting to do with other people once I retire (most of my hobbies are solitary).
  • Brew a batch of mead (I’ve not made any since the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989).
  • Improve documentation for PteroDAQ.
  • Port PteroDAQ to new processors?
  • Temperature-compensated VCO.
  • VCO using one op amp and one FET (is it even possible?)
  • Torque-measuring rig for small gear motors.  Both stall torque and torque vs. speed.

I’m sure I’ve left a dozen things off that list, but there is no way I’ll get even half of it done in the next six months anyway.


  1. This looks more like a 6 year check list. Amazing enough I would have many of the same items on my list. The garage door is my biggie. And clean out the garage. That is 2 weeks just there.

    Comment by gflint — 2019 June 18 @ 07:48 | Reply

    • I forgot “clean out the garage and put up shelving”. That has been on my to-do list for a decade. Likewise “repair and paint dollhouse” (we have a plywood dollhouse that we were given that we were going to fix up and decorate—I think that has been in the garage for over a decade).

      And I didn’t put on the list what I’ll probably do first—compare the different genotyping I’ve had done and try to come up with a consensus genotype for myself. Also, start looking for possible causes of hereditary bradycardia in my genome. My initial search of genes known to be involved in inherited bradycardia turned up nothing interesting, so I may need to wait until I have genome data for my dad, my son, and one of my brothers, to narrow down the search a little.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2019 June 18 @ 08:50 | Reply

  2. […] Grading done!, I posted a to-do list for the six months I have off until I start teaching again in January.  […]

    Pingback by About halfway through my 6-month break | Gas station without pumps — 2019 September 14 @ 22:52 | Reply

  3. […] the beginning of the summer, I set myself the goal to clear the 161 to-do notes from the draft of my book by the first of […]

    Pingback by Book progress update | Gas station without pumps — 2019 October 18 @ 22:34 | Reply

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