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Saturday, June 09, 2007

New Bike with Class

I bought a new bike and it's swell.
It is silver and has it's own bell,
The frame is made from
mostly aluminum:
Carbon fiber is costly as hell.

I found that my old bike, which I paid about $500 for in Korea, could not be purchased new here in the States for less than around $1100. Guess I should have shipped it home. The thing is, it was just a bit small for me.

The new one is nice. It's a much more comfortable ride. The price for the bike itself was about $400, but by the time I had purchased a helmet, a basic computer, tire patch kit, water bottles and cages to hold them, and some handlebar extensions, I had pushed it up to around $545. I bought it from Sunflower, in downtown Lawrence. A good investment, I think. Sunflower has classes in bike maintenance, and they offer a couple of free tune-ups with the purchase of a bike.

They also carry an amazing selection of stuff, both for biking and for general outdoor use. Their web page really doesn't do them justice. They need to have a couple of pictures of the inside of the store itself. It's an old building that has a lot of personality on its own. When you walk in, there are bikes and biking equipment all over the place. Their shop is in the back of the building, but it isn't closed off from the main space. It's all in the open so you can see their mechanics working on bikes. Very good stuff. Now all they need is someone to make it more obvious on their web page.

In related news, I started a statistics class Tuesday. Unfortunately, I have not been in Kansas earning a living for the past 365 days, so I must pay out-of-state tuition. This three-hour class is going to cost me $1450, plus $159 in campus fees. Yikes. For in-state I would be paying $551, plus the $159 in campus fees. Hopefully I can remedy this situation before I've been here for the full 365 days. In the mean time, I guess I grin and bare it.

Sorry, I mean bear it.

The class itself is interesting for a couple of reasons: first of all, I've been teaching for the past 12 years, and now the shoe is on the other foot. And if you've ever put your shoe on the wrong foot, you know how uncomfortable that can be. The very first day of class, prof. Stahl wrote something on the blackboard (sorry, I meant whiteboard), murmured to himself, "No, that's not right," then found that there was no eraser. He told us that he had expected to bring his own marker, but just figured there would be an eraser here, then wandered off to get one. I was surprised that he made it back in just a couple of minutes. At Kyungsung, I would have sent a student to get it, and been surprised if it came within five minutes.

I don't miss the hassle of dealing with ill-equipped classrooms. Not one bit. I do kind of miss being in front of the class, though. Prof. Stahl obviously knows his stuff, but his style of dealing with class is different than mine. Undoubtedly due in part to some of the differences in our circumstances. I try to make a habit of asking questions in every lecture, and waiting for answers before moving on. It's a good way to check that the students are actually following me, and not falling asleep. Prof. Stahl reacts well to questions, but doesn't really ask us anything. During our third class, he said something that wasn't exactly a question, but had a slight rising tone at the end, suggesting a question. Then he appeared to be waiting for an answer. Of course he didn't get one, because by the third day we all "know" that we will not be required to speak during the lecture. I think he sort of realized that too, after a brief, somewhat awkward pause.

It is refreshing to be in a classroom in which control is not a problem. All of the students (about 12 of us) are there because we want to learn the math and/or pass the class. (I am hoping and planning to get an "A". My undergrad g.p.a. was a trifle low, and this, plus three more hours of "A" credit will boost me up into the acceptable range for grad school.) No one talks on their phone, or puts on make-up, or talks to other students, or brings pets. A few of us drink beverages, but I always considered that acceptable from my students. My only regret in being in this serious, adult classroom is that I am not the teacher!

Friday our first homework was due. I got off to a bad start. Stayed up until 4 a.m. finishing. I'm getting too old for that crap. I'll try to keep you all posted on how well I do in the future. Perhaps the shame element will boost my productivity and advance planning.

Oh, the connection between the bike and the class is simple: I ride to and from school on my bike. It's about 5 miles (8 km) one way, and I've been doing it in about 30 minutes. Most of KU is perched on Mt. Oread. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a mountain, especially after living in Busan and Nepal, but it is a respectable hill. This week I've been trying different approaches to find out which route gets me to class with the least amount of sweat on my body.

I try to get an extra mile or two (2 or 3 km) in on my way home from class. I'm getting a lovely farmer tan. Just this week of riding every day (except today) has started to get me back in shape. By Friday I was much less winded than I was on Monday (my dry run before class started). This class runs through the end of July. I figure that by then I will be back in the kind of biking shape I was in before Maxine was born. Maybe I can even lose a couple of pounds along the way.

Well, I should sign off and get to my homework. I told Horyon yesterday that I wouldn't blog or email until I had done my homework, and now I've done both. Great start, Rob. Way to aim for the "A".

1 comment:

Here I am... Send me! said...

Hi Rob! Miss you guys here and hope all is well there! God Bless, JIM

A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.