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Almost everything else

Mom (Essay #19)

An essay on my mother, for mother’s day.

Replying to messages on the SIGCSE mailing list (Essay #37)

A note to a mailing list that I manage.

The end of the world is nigh (Essay #98)

Reflections on the Cubbies’ presence in the World Series.

Cultivating the gross mindset (Essay #103)

An attempt at humor.

Assessing candidates (Essay #112)

Notes for some early-career faculty

The election (Essay #115)

Um, yeah.

The Bruce Voyles Rule and the Samuel A. Rebelsky Rule (Essay #149)

Policies on supervising MAPs, and how they came about.

Mondegreens (Essay #143)

A great term, further explored.

On teaching online (Essay #168)

Preliminary notes for a memo in which I reflect on my experiences teaching online.

Thoughts on student graders (Essay #202)

Why we use them, or at least why I use them.

Giving in to Bootstrap (Essay #203)

Adopting a technology I hate.

Dumb things Sam does: Changing my site builder right before classes start (Essay #206)


Dumb things Sam does: Write too-long essays on work-life balance (Essay #213)

Agh! Agh!

A gift to myself (Essay #208)

A night with less essay writing, to allow time for class prep.

Some days I’m clearly not meant to write (Essay #209)

I hate networks.

Dumb Amazon recommendations, episode 1 (Essay #224)

Sam writes too much about too little.

Exam prologues and epilogues (Essay #225)

A teaching approach I appreciate having learned.

Scheduling classes (Essay #231)

One of my responsibilities.

Priorities (Essay #233)

Reflecting on them

Asking questions (Essay #236)

An answer to one.

Office hours (Essay #239)

More thoughts on my professional life.

A few quick reasons I love Grinnell students (Essay #240)

Students in leadership roles.

Some classes that influenced me (Essay #241)

Appreciating learning.

Some things I write (other than these essays) (Essay #242)

Okay, a selection of such things.

A week in the life of a chair (Essay #243)

Joyous and interesting.

Campus speakers (Essay #247)

And today’s climate.

How are you, Sam? (Essay #250)

How I answer that question.

Tipping hotel housekeeping (Essay #252)

Why to do so.

Enjoying listserve chaos (Essay #253)

Watching computer professionals be unprofessional

Textbook prices (Essay #257)

How students deal with them.

The legendary CSC 151 picture quiz (Essay #259)

One of my strange teaching techniques.

Spring break 2017 (Musing #261)

Likely to break me.

Spring break 2017, revisited (Musing #262)

A more positive perspective.

Rhetorical gestures I don’t understand (Musing #272)

Strange ways to use links.

Scholarly opportunities for all, revisited (Musing #274)

My latest in a series of responses to an initiative.

What is the ACM? (Musing #277)

An acronym that continues to mystify.

Other kinds of writing (Musing #284)

Why musing #284 is so short.

Determining whether or not a string starts with an upper-case letter (or why Sam may fail programming interviews) (Musing #285)

I think the subtitle says it all.

Making good choices (Musing #295)

In which I do so.

The state of the CS department (Musing #297)


Finding room in my schedule (Musing #301)

Searching for the imaginary.

Planning a department meeting (Musing #303)

What do we talk about each week, or at least this week?

Hotel Grinnell (Musing #306)

It may actually succeed.

Whoops (Musing #307)

’nuff said.

(Lack of) sleep cycles (Musing #317)

Getting rest.

Great (?) conversations (Musing #318)

No, not really.

How do you do it? (Musing #319)

I’m fortunate.

Apologies (Musing #320)

Some that are necessary.

Scenes from Graduation Weekend 2017 (Musing #327)

Things to remember (or not).

More scenes from graduation weekend 2017 (Musing #329)

More things to remember.

Self-catering the senior breakfast (graduation 2017) (Musing #331)

Lists for next year.

Questions of the day (Musing #344)

What Sam does when he doesn’t have a lot of time to muse.

Deanly stressors (Musing #346)

Feeling sorry for my dean.

A new CSC 151 (Musing #348)

Thinking about the new version of the course.

A workshop on Universal Design for Learning (Musing #350)

A report.

Reading CS Principles, Take 1 (Musing #351)

Starting a series?

Reading CS Principles, Take 2 (Musing #352)

Continuing the series.

Bananas (Musing #353)

A slight detour.

Conversations (Musing #355)

Yet another conversation that I don’t expect.

Reading AP CS Principles, Take 3 (Musing #356)

Returning to the series.

I’m back! (Musing #357)

Returning from a break.

Reading AP CS Principles, Take 4 (Musing #359)

Now that I’m back from the break, I’m adding to the series.

Surface problems (Musing #363)

The joy of Microsoft.

Today’s question (Musing #364)

Are we selling the Chrystal center?

Assembling advising folders (Musing #366)

A requested musing

A message to SIGCSE-members (Musing #367)

One of my responsibilities.

Poor Jerod (Musing #368)

Passing on responsibilities.

Bootstrapping my musings (Musing #371)

More fun with Bootstrap.

Some notes on open educational resources for CS (Musing #373)

Yet another report from a workshop.

Budgeting screwups (Musing #374)

Why do they let me be chair? (Alternately: Sorry Jerod!)

A possible OER project: A more open CSC 151 (Musing #375)

Adding work to my plate.

A chair problem (Musing #376)

A problem for the new chair about chairs.

Fun(d)raising (Musing #379)

Ideas for putting some fun in fundraising.

Keys (Musing #381)

The joy of building keys.

Good will, trust, relationships, and rules (Musing #382)

One of these things is not like the others.

An easy question (or maybe not) (Musing #383)

Definitely not.

Why some email messages need context (Musing #390)

Otherwise, comments may have an unclear subject.

A short musing (Musing #394)

Too much to do, too little time.

Game night (Musing #402)

A weekly summer activity, more or less.

A report from the Grinnell summer 2017 letterpress workshop (Musing #403)

A break from my other work, more or less.

A report from the Summer 2017 CS Department Workshop (Musing #404)

The other work that I was breaking from.

Musing too much (or too little) (Musing #408)

Yet another reason my musings don’t always appear when they should.

Placing incoming students in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science (Musing #410)

How I’ve spent way too much time of late.

Local, national, and global (Musing #414)

Why I focus on the local, and sometimes the hyper-local.

The eclipse (Musing #422)

My experience trying to see a total eclipse in 2017.

Too many (lists of) learning goals (Musing #444)

What do we try to teach, anyway?

Embracing three-by-eighty (Musing #445)

My new favorite class block.

We are all shipwrecks (Musing #447)

Traveling to hear a book reading.

Watching terms lose their meaning: Algorithm (Musing #449)

Frustrated at seeing a term coopted.

Experiencing SamR (Musing #460)

The different ways that people on campus seem to react to me.

Weeknight concerts (Musing #462)

Making choices.

CSC 321/22 - The evolution of Grinnell’s software design curriculum (Musing #463).

A (potentially) great course that’s still evolving.

A week of advising activities (Musing #472)

Some of the other things I do.

Ten miles backwards (Musing #478)

From Missouri to Iowa.

Finding time to grade (Musing #479)

More precisely, not finding time to grade.

Preparing to perform (Musing #480)

I need a green room.

An exam question on loop invariants (Musing #482)

Not a lot of time to muse.

The class before (Thanksgiving) break (Musing #488)

How to handle that class.

Vignettes and followups (Musing #490)

Lots of little things.

Getting my weekends back (Musing #491)

One of the reasons I’m looking forward to the fall.

Achieving sympathy (Musing #493)

It’s not quite nirvana, but it’s still important.

I’m back (I think) (Musing #494)

Starting to muse again.

Setting up an RSS feed (Musing #497)

Trying to make the musings more readily available.

Transferring my digital workspace (Musing #499)

Getting ready to send my workstation in for repairs.

The spectre of Spectre (Musing #501)

Some things I learned by reading about security flaws.

A question about tuition from an ACT survey (Musing #503)

Where do they get their numbers?

Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall (Musing #511)

Eighty years ago today.

My first big programming project (Musing #514)

My zero knowledge port.

The 2018 Grinnell Posse Plus Retreat (Musing #523)

Reflections on a weekend discussing complex topics with students and colleagues.

JAVA (Musing #524)

What does that acronym stand for?

Minnesota nice (Musing #533)

What does the term mean?

Making a slide deck (Musing #534)

What’s the point of Powerpoint?

Today’s question (Musing #540)

The things my children ask.

It’s not just me! (Musing #545)

I’m not the only curmudgeon!

Should it go to waste or to waist? (Musing #552)

What to do with leftover sweets.

Thanking people (Musing #555)

A good habit.

A committee of old white guys (Musing #556)

Should I be another owg?

Vignettes from a Guthrie Family Concert (Musing #563)

Gee, I’m old.

Checking my MacBook (Musing #575)

Is it dead?

Publicizing Research Opportunities for All (Musing #577)

It’s a great initiative. Why don’t we say more about it?

Scarlet and give back day 2018 (Musing #587)

Please give.

Breaking things (Musing #594)

Careless programming decisions can have long term impact.

Free-book tables (Musing #595)

A danger to the addict.

Friday the 13th (Musing #598)

Advice from Churchy La Femme. (I suppose that’s advice, too.)

Recycling, revisited (Musing #602)

Better news on recycling.

Language (Musing #618)

Words matter.

Faculty parties (Musing #621)

Feeling fortunate to work with awesome people, a few more of whom now have tenure.

Guns (Musing #635)

Feeling sad and hopeless.

Depressed and obsessed (or Putting the marketing campaign behind me) (Musing #644)

It’s time to move on to other matters.

An exclamation to avoid (Musing #645)

Please don’t swear in my classroom.

Admitting defeat (Musing #646)

Perhaps I’m too persnickety.

Textbooks and the bookstore (Musing #650)

Reflecting on some sales choices.

I’m so confused! (Musing #651)

Unexpected PL influences.

Getting the preposition right (Musing #653)

Although to and on share a vowel, they are different prepositions.

Aggressive spam filters (Musing #662)

Your email has been rejected as it contains a shortened URL

Strange calculations (Musing #663)

Two plus four is seven?

Sentient and malicious (Musing #665)

One of my aphorisms.

Linking in (Musing #677)

What links do you accept?

A great quotation (Musing #678)

Explaining the VU.

Saying goodbye (Musing #684)

It happens too often.

Software over-privileges (Musing #691)

One of the minor benefits of being a faculty or staff member at Grinnell.

Even worse collegiate marketing slogans (Musing #699)

And I thought no limits was bad.

Code triage (Musing #700)

It could be an awesome game.

Learning to appreciate Peter Max (Musing #704)

Now I think I understand.

A fun conversation (Musing #706)

It was fun to muse about, too.

Fair fare (Musing #717)

Too much fat and sugar.

Watching a livestock competition (Musing #718)

Learning to understand non-verbal communcation.

The Avital Ronell case (Musing #744)

Something I’ve read too much about.

Repairing my vintage MacBook (Musing #759)

Decisions, decisions.

Cleaning up my hard drive (Musing #763)

Too much cruft.

Dilly Dilly? (Musing #766)

Strange signs.

In line at a grocery store (Musing #770)

Responding to the wait.

Iowa weather (Musing #775)

Not a good fall.

CS department initials, acronyms, and abbreviations (Musing #778)

What do those two letters mean?

Marching band (Musing #779)

Musicians, color guards, and the occasional theremin. Oh my!

Unintended consequences (Musing #781)

Small changes can have larger impacts.

An abbreviated history of Grinnell’s end-of-course evaluations (Musing #787)

What would an extended history look like?

New Facebook friends (Musing #795)

It’s nice to have friends.

Discussing film and music at my fourth Obermann seminar (Musing #803)

An intellectual luxury.

11/11 (Musing #807)

Armistice Day and Walt Kelly.

The moat (Musing #818)

Why does it surround admissions?

Word order matters (Musing #819)

Ordering word matters.

Giving to Grinnell on Tuesday (Musing #821)

You’re giving to the College, not the Administration.

Comics that matter: Master race (Musing #822)

An important piece of history.

MAT-218 (Musing #827)

It’s a dessert topic and a floor wax!

Pricing strategies that confuse me (Musing #829)

The cost of splitting a plate.

Robotics engineer Barbie (Musing #830)

More precisely, robotics engineer Barbies.

Rocket Scientist Barbie (Musing #836)

Celebrating real mathematicians.

git flame (Musing #837)

Better than git blame.

My bookshelves at the Obermann center (Musing #841)

I can’t bear to see empty bookshelves.

Live music (Musing #842)

Some recent shows of note.

Direction matters (Musing #851)

Fun with Google Maps.

ykcowrebbaJ (Musing #853)

Through the looking glass.

Confusion about Jabberwocky (Musing #857)

d backwards is b, and vice versa.

Searching for academic honesty (Musing #859)

A question from a colleague.

Evaluating candidates (Musing #864)

Reflections on a workshop.

Dream suggestions (Musing #866)

Finding other people’s iPhones.

The creator and the creation (Musing #868)

Does the former affect your appreciation of the latter?

The CS Web server (Musing #894)

I need a life, or at least my own Web server.

Reading the AP CS Principles exam (Musing #914)

A week of grading sounds horrible. But it can actually be a lot of fun.

Visiting Mass MoCA (Musing #917)

I needed a week (or more).

Mid-year graduates (Musing #923)

Lots of CS majors and other students who I will miss.

Car radio (Musing #926)

Getting lucky.

Whoops! (Musing #930)

Sometimes I’m too persnickety.

Misnaming (Musing #947)

Sam needed a break from even more serious topics.

Raygun (Musing #949)

Favorite store of Midwest liberal snowflakes.

From rabbit holes to dance bands (Musing #961)

You see the connection, don’t you?

Dad jokes for computer scientists (Musing #965)

Humor of some sort or other.

Fresh pineapple (Musing #966)


Misnaming, revisited (Musing #970)

Possibly a more serious topic than I had thought.

Nina Paley (Musing #979)

Sometimes I still feel like a fanboy.

Farewell MathLAN Web Server (Musing #984)

You shall be missed.

Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day (Musing #1002)

The things that occupy valuable memory.

The 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucus (Poweshiek County Grinnell Precinct 7 Ward 2) (Musing #1008)

Responding to reader requests.

To create or consume? (Musing #1030)

To produce, practice, ponder, perfect, or play?

Joy in a time of (something) (Musing #1032)

The power of song.

Unexpected joys (Musing #1044)

Perhaps I should expect more of them.

Claviash (Musing #1059)

However you spell it.

(Too much) Virtual live music (Musing #1063)

Choices, choices.

Suggestions for summer (Musing #1067)

Take care of yourself!

Attempting grace (Musing #1072)

Not always succeeding.

Lost in the Interweb, episode 803.6: Good morning, somewhere, how are you? (Musing #1076)

A new interpreation of cover version.

SLAC education this fall (Musing #1078)

What will it look like?

Perspectives on personal projects (Musing #1080)

Reflections for/from a conversation.

Adventures in Web server transitions (Musing #1108)

So many complexities!

(Mostly) Avoiding social media (Musing #1116)

Mostly succeeding.

Shoveling snow (Musing #1117)

A joy of Iowa Winters.

How should a student learn compilers and interpreters? (Musing #1132)

And related questions.

I hate computers (Musing #1146)

Particularly today.

Normally kind (Musing #1152)

Let’s make kindness the new norm.

Random thoughts from a road trip (Musing #1158)

Nineteen hours and this is all I could come up with?

What are your favorite pieces? (Visiting the Des Moines Art Center) (Musing #1159)

There are so many!