March: first and last full month of teaching in Winter 2022, and some trips

Posted by Patrick Lam on Friday, April 1, 2022

Table Of Contents

Status

As I write this I’m in Montreal on April 2 for the Quebec judo provincial championships. It’s the first tournament around here since December. There were definitely more spectators at the tournament than I was comfortable with, but they were mostly across the mats from me. But, given community prevalence levels, there must have been several dozen COVID-positive people out of the several hundred people at the event. People were supposed to wear masks and pretty much did, though they were better at wearing them in December (fewer mouthguards). Very few people in Quebec wear N95s. Mostly it’s surgical masks. Better than cloth, worse than N95.

Busy security line at Pearson on March 25 (why?); art at Charlevoix metro; cheese curds; new public toilet outside Papineau metro.

Anyway, the Quebec public health institute (INSPQ) has confirmed the start of the 6th wave in Quebec. Ontario’s probably no different, maybe just a bit behind. There’s not much less that I can do unmasked except for judo, and then masked activities include teaching and climbing. That’s almost everything? Sometimes I eat at airports or on planes. Almost no restaurants.

There is probably still less COVID in Canada than New Zealand right now, though the New Zealand wave is definitely past peak in Auckland and on the North Island now. Actually, that’s not completely certain, given estimated 30k cases per day in Ontario and 8-12k reported in NZ (which has just about 3x fewer people than Ontario). I’ll have to decide what to do when I am in New Zealand next week. Probably not much indoor dining, though I read that they somehow estimated the secondary attack rate while dining at 7% in NZ.

I’m not thrilled at masks being optional on campus in Waterloo in May. But we’ll see how case counts evolve. I hope they’ll reverse that decision. It would be fine if they don’t have to because the Ontario case counts will actually be low, but I’m skeptical of that.

Still, though, it seems like we have normalization-of-devianced away from cancelling events. The judo provincial championships are happening right now. Nationals is probably going to happen. Convocation at Waterloo is going to happen. Hospitalizations are low and there is hospital capacity (though numbers in Ontario just climbed back above 1000 again), but someone in the NZ media pointed out that hospital capacity is kind of like having the ambulance available at the bottom of the cliff. You already fell off the cliff.

New Zealand

Going in 9 days. Must not get COVID before then. We have applied for residency; hope it comes soon.

University

Teaching to between 1 and 5 students at 8:30 Mondays and Fridays. I really hate 8:30am. But at least that allows me to go places on Friday afternoon for the weekend.

Zero students in class at 8:33; perhaps too many students at SE Capstone Design Symposium.

Work setup

Pretty stable. I got a table tripod, new SD card (old one was not keen to be read), replaced the laptop keyboard again, and failed to configure my laptop to connect to eduroam (the 10 year old laptop does; then again, I recently reinstalled Debian on it).

The townhouse & life maintenance

Should probably do more cleaning around the house, and now that they’ve replaced the windows, I need to put the curtains back (or new curtains?). Did a bunch of life maintenance: replaced car battery, put summer tires on car, tried to replace motorbike battery (hint: not an ATX12); tried to replace winter bicycle brakes (rusted on, brought to bike shop, removed; now need to put new pads on). I would rather have been doing other things instead.

Got another battery tender (just in case it could revive my battery), laundry basket, more bike lights, and backup LED turtle light. Also judogi pants and a mini food processor. I’ve always thought I should have a food processor. I made Caesar salad once and a food processor would have helped a lot.

Gear

In addition to things listed above:

  • Table tripod
  • SD card (barely got previous pictures off camera, thanks gphoto2 for saving the day)
  • Ski boot buckle (harder to find than expected)
  • T20 star drive screwdriver
  • Portable sleeping pad
  • Socks & travel containers
  • Another webbing belt (useful for travel: don’t need to take off for security)
  • Sunglasses (yet another try; maybe I’ll keep it in a hard case exclusively)
Oh no! Missing buckle fitting! Improvising... Also, bringing my skis home.

Got my telemark skis tuned, and bought lots of Mountain House meals on clearance at MEC.

Started building the LEGO Kakapo.

Kakapo LEGO construction.

March posts

I posted a trip report and brought another one in from the archives.

From Saskatchewan: Blue Mountain, Pioneer Richardson Terminal, Vegreville Pysanka..

I am staying in the same airbnb as in February, and I changed another of the lights to a warm LED. It turns out that the 100W equivalent bulb is too big, but I went when Wal-Mart was open and got the 100W bulb and then exchanged it for the 60W bulb, which is just fine.

Did not make any progress on the 2021 archives, but I did process the March 2022 Saskatchewan pictures and some from 2018.

To do, all from 2021:

  • [February] Tongariro Northern Circuit
  • [April] Avalanche Peak, Mount Somers Track
  • [June] Rotorua (airport walk)
  • [July] Hobbiton
  • [July] Aotea
  • [August] Cook Islands
  • [September] Sea to Sky II
  • [September] Paparoa Track & the Glaciers
  • [September/October] Abel Tasman Coast Track
  • [October] Mt. Cook and Mt. Somers
  • [October] Red Rocks
  • [November] Waikanae, eclipse
  • [November] Timaru Circuit: Mount Cook / Oamaru
  • [November] Leaving NZ

There are also a couple of pictures from 2022:

  • [January] Walking around KW
  • [February] Reading week trip to Montreal
  • [March] Avalanche course

Professional

The ISSTA reviewers sure didn’t appreciate our work. I did the best I could on the response but I don’t think it’ll work. To some extent maybe I can sell it better in a future submission. Applications of our technique do exist, and I keep on running into more of them, despite these reviewers’ beliefs.

For the other paper, we are on the ECOOP to FSE to OOPSLA pipeline. Hopefully it’ll be ready for OOPSLA. We are starting to get good numbers of good results.

Talked to my grad students on 12 days. Walks-as-a-Service with 1 alum, my grad students (twice), 3 undergrads (plus one phone call), ran into ex-SE student at the climbing gym.

Collegiality

FAUW Nominations and Elections Committee, OAT Management Board, organized job candidate visit (CS), provided faculty candidate feedback.

SE exit survey: reviewed and sent out, plus data processing for SEsoc-run social connectedness survey. Attended SE Capstone Design Symposium.

Teaching

I continued to run flipped classrooms for Programming for Performance. Attendance is, well, abysmal (min 1 max 9), but it is 8:30, so I understand and don’t mind. It’s a good chance to try out the flipped classroom activities for next year.

Static Analysis for Software Engineering paper discussions finished. I think they went pretty well. They should, given the number of students in the course (5). I set the final exam and made it available to the students. Next week we are listening to final project presentations.

I prepared a syllabus for ECE 653 this summer and replied to an astounding number of requests for override requisites. I think there is pent-up demand for courses among MEng students who are starting in May. I would rather there be fewer students than 140.

I attended the second session of the CTE Remote to Flipped Classroom Workshop this month. We’ll see what I can take from that to the Winter 2023 offering of Programming for Performance. There should probably be less content? But important stuff?

Travels

  • 🚢 Walking: 85km (similar to previous months)
  • 🚲 Biking: 215.1km (up 100% from January, nice)
  • πŸš— Driving: 1976km (Saskatchewan accounts for 1100 of those).
  • β›· Skiing: 31km (also 3.8km gondola)
  • 🚌 Bus distance: 41km (Vancouver)
  • πŸš‡ MΓ©tro distance: 45km
  • πŸš‡ SkyTrain distance: 25km
  • πŸ›© Plane distance: 13232km (YEG, YVR, YUL roundtrips)

Three trips is going to bump up that plane number. Not that much walking, but biking number way up due to it being my primary transportation, and doing more in February.

Travel planning

I planned the trip that I’m currently on to Repentigny for the provincial championships, as well as Yellowknife for the post-lecture week before I can get to New Zealand. I also planned Cape Reinga for during our NZ time this April.

Other sports

  • Avalanche course (AST-1-plus) involved some skinning and a bit of telemarking, but more digging out of avy beacons. Turns out my beacon is probably obsolete.
  • Cross-country skiing in Saskatchewan (both skate and classic)
  • Judo practice 10x, climbing 5x (once at Allez Up, much less sandbagged than GRR).

Food

Two new places:

  • houseofpatties
  • LenJo Bakes (recommended by dan, thanks!)

I did an UberEats order once so that I could mark my Uber account as in-Canada and link it to my Aeroplan account for an Aeroplan points promotion. I really don’t use Uber or UberEats ever, really.

Conclusion

I wonder if we’ll retrospectively think that March was pretty normal, as was the case for much of Fall 2021 (which I missed). Anyway, classes are over now, time to wrap up the term and check off some more of the things before the next term starts. Also, looking forward to being back in NZ, even if only for a few weeks. Concerned that it just won’t be the same as 2020. Can never step in the same river twice? Maybe it’s still a good river.