Saturday, May 14, 2016

Spending $915 on mathematics

Phew!  My computer is back.  I (well, my awesome Tech-Sters) managed to save almost everything, with the exception of random sets of photos.  So I'm going to quickly blitz through the post I wanted to put up last week.

The first week of May, I went to a kick-butt math workshop in San Jose.  I didn't snag funding to go, but I was fairly sure that the workshop would be good enough for me that I decided to pay out of pocket for this six-day trip.

doubles as a suitcase;
I left the milk/egg containers at home.
Not surprisingly, the biggest expense was cross-country airfare, to the tune of $565. I got to leave my discarded yard-sale books in Atlanta, Seattle, Denver, and Chicago (but I wasn't done with books in the other three cities I spent time on the ground in); being willing to take multiple legs brings the airfare down somewhat.  I also packed everything for the week into my Market backpack, avoiding luggage fees.

Speaking of transportation, using the IRS rate, we spent another $50 on mileage to and from my home airport; also I spent another $25 on a four-mile taxi trip from the airport in San Jose to my lodgings.   Once I was in San Jose, I walked the 2 miles to and from the workshop daily.  (One mathematician said, rather wide-eyed, "but that will take 40 minutes!", and I didn't quite know how to respond.  "Um, yes, but it's actually good to spend that much time walking each day?").

Lodging was the next biggest expense.  San Jose is wickedly costly -- the nearby Holiday Inn was offering rates of $257 per night.  Clearly, I was not going to spend 5 nights at that price.  I tried hard to find friends in the area who might be happy to put me up, but when that proved unsuccessful (no local friends with guest rooms), one of my former students suggested AirBnB.  And so I spent $334 for the week -- plus, my host drove me back to the airport, saving me another $25 cab fare.  Awesome!

A former student (now mathematician)
and me, at a reception.  Yay food!
Another frugal win was spending only $16 on food.  I got lucky in that the workshop offered all participants (even me, who wasn't officially funded by them) a continental breakfast, lunch, and a late-afternoon reception.  So most days, I didn't eat any "dinner" but was still more than well-fed.  I bought $3 coffee in the airport, once each direction (can't take it through security, so that was the only way to get it), and on the way home I broke down and bought a $11 sandwich, because my trail mix and chickpeas had run out.

And the chickpeas -- that's what I really wanted to post about.  Because I've been bringing trail mix with me on many trips, and I *love* that I can eat it without standing in lines/generating trash/paying wads of money.  But it's dry, and sometimes I also want something with a chewier (meatier?) texture.
So, I don't have pictures (dang computer crash), but I just want to say:  roasted parmesan chickpeas!!!!  Here is a recipe from Michael Pollan.  Also, garlic and paprika roasted chickpeas!  Yum.


  1. Have you tried We have hosted lots of grad students on our couch for free as they went to conferences. It's a fun way to meet new people. The price is right for you!

    1. Oh, wow! This looks great! Thanks for the pointer. I don't have any trips scheduled in the near future where I might need this, but I'm going to sign up as a host. Thanks!