… and the other thing.

Simultaneously the other day:

  • I reconnected with some old college buddies and realized through our perfunctory catch-up chatting that I won some sort of lottery a few years back, a lottery I didn’t enter, the prize of which was a career and some hobbies I find eminently satisfying. Dodged a bullet there, apparently.
  • I realized this blogging thing has to be more than the exchange of ideas — you and me, me and you — that, for the ideas to really take root, there has to be some personality lubricating the transaction. There is, of course, the concern that a noxious personality might attach itself to worthy ideas, but we’re going to risk that here.

So my alter ego would like to introduce himself now.

I love teaching but I keep mistresses. I love graphic design. I love editing video.

I got with a great wedding photographer two months ago who gave me carte blanche approval to design an album, any album, to take the status quo and mix it up a bit. That’s this. (Page 8 is all math teacher.)

Mount Hermon Camps hired me to make a promotional DVD for their youth programs. There were the usual shots of kids having fun and the usual peppy soundtrack but also some motion graphics work which involved more math than I anticipated. That’s this.

Both hobbies are central to my personhood yet somehow completely detached from my teaching. Graphic design helps me lay out a good Algebra slide in Keynote, but there are certainly two distinct Dan Meyer’s running around the San Lorenzo Valley. I’d like to get ’em together and see what they could do, but I can never seem to arrange an introduction.

So that’s me. What’s your other thing?

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. Yeah, my two personalities don’t regularly meet up either, but I guess I kind of like to keep the two separate. I think they both work better that way, but the lines between the two always blur.

    I’m a musician and that’s my big passion. I write songs as often as I can; I don’t record them anywhere near as often as I should. I can sit in a room all day and just listen to CDs. I could do the same playing an instrument. I love music and can’t imagine my life without it. I put together a CD for some friends a while back and the next one is always on the drawing board. Students freak out if they find out I’m a huge Nine Inch Nails fan. New album out in April, sweet. I’m waiting for US tour dates.

    I throw my design sensibilities into everything. Christmas cards, handouts, CD covers, Web sites, letters, notes friends write, everything. I might suck at it, but I design things all the time. When leaning over your shoulder, I’m not just proofreading; I’m figuring out how the content can flow on the page better, how to make use of whitespace, whether or not that caption should be Georgia 18 bold expanded by 6 points (roughly, what, 2em?). I see design all around and try to bring those considerations into everything I create (have you noticed that the curly bracket — “{” — is making a comeback as a design element? look around on coffee cups, posters, commercials, CD covers…).

    I’m also oddly into coding (thanks in large part to two pieces of blogging software), a far more mathematical pursuit than a liberal arts guy should enjoy as much as I do. It’s an art to pound an idea into reality and that’s what coding allows. Next Vista is a nonprofit I’m part of. I’m terribly excited to be involved with it on an ideological level, but I also love doing new things with the way that site works. About 8 months ago, I had no idea how I was going to make it work, yet there it is and it’s plugging away just fine. I get a thrill whenever something works that was an idea only a few hours ago and I’m constantly finding new ways to do that next thing I always wanted to do with the site.

    Oh, and I’m also enrolled in Japanese 2 at a local community college with full intention of enrolling in Japanese 3 next quarter. No, I don’t watch anime or read any manga. My interest has always been a pure fascination with the language itself. It’s a blast!

    That’s my alter ego.

  2. I checked the links in your post and was suitably impressed – I especially enjoyed the video. I have no talent or background in graphic design but I find it strangely satisfying playing around in Photoshop with images and fonts. Every year I design a logo for my class and try to make it contemporary so that the kids (11 and 12 year olds) feel like it’s a statement of ownership and branding – here’s this year’s – it’s really just playing around and when something pleases my eye, it’s a good achievement. Probably breaking every graphic design rule in the book but who cares! What I also find is that it is really frustrating trying to get the idea in my head to actually appear as I want it on the screen – many hours can disappear without realising it. Despite the gulf in talents between your great stuff and my playing, even you could relate to that!

  3. Todd: Geez … bet you were in a lot of clubs as a kid. I’d already noticed the coding wing of your website, but never guessed the standard deviation of all your extracurrics was that extreme.

    Graham: I had guessed from your web banner you had some Photoshop chops. That’s fun that you brand your class. I might try that. Something small to toss on worksheet headers, watermarks in the background of slides, etc. And you’ve definitely caught the zeitgeist with ink blotches and a grunged look. The North American zeitgeist, anyway. You should check out Design Fruit sometime and Jason Gaylor’s collection of high-quality, free brushes. I used his foliage set extensively in that album there.

  4. I’ve only chipped in a few comments, so I don’t know that you know me all that well…. but I suppose one facet of me that’s not a math teacher (and part-time technology coordinator) is that I spend five weeks each summer at camps for middle schoolers. Two of those weeks are in the dishwashing room at a YoungLife camp, where I’m what’s known in their parlance as the “pit boss” (not to be confused with some guy in a Vegas casino). I have about 5 high school students who spend 8+ hours a day washing dishes with me. And it is AMAZINGLY satisfying, at least for me!

  5. Oops, that was a bit harsh, wasn’t it? Soften that up a touch. I didn’t mean to sound so angry.

    Good idea for an entry, Dan. Thanks for writing it. This could get interesting.

  6. My current personality is one of an assistant principal, tech support, discipliinarian. How about that! I truly enjoy my AP job and all the different aspects.

    I do however have other interests that when they come out at school, my students go “Really” you do that.

    I would say that technology is the one thing that travels back and forth otherwise I enjoy working out. i have become a Crossfit junkie. Fly fishing, golfing and motorcycle riding, just not all at once also occupy my time (when I have some spare time, see the last paragraph)

    Lately I have been into home improvement, so I now own a bunch of power tools ( no lost fingers yet).
    And back from my days at SLV I enjoy playing any type of sport, however as my body ages it becomes harder each time.

    Mostly though my main hobby is being an active father to my twins and a husband to my wife ( I know, kind of sappy) but that is where it lies.
    That was fun. I don’t think I said school 2.0 anywhere (whoops)

  7. I’m no stranger to the summer camp circuit, Rich. I’m in the middle of this preposterous five-year run at Mount Hermon Camps. I’ve found it to be a nice extension of yet a break from high school teaching.

    Brian, it’s good to hear that even at the administrative level, you guys find time for some fun. Swear, the hours you people put in …