No Fancy Name
Sunday, June 13, 2004
music to work by
I really, really miss Toad the Wet Sprocket. They were one of my favorites throughout my college years, and still are. When I have to sit down and work for long period of hours (like 40 in a row or something crazy like that), I have a set of CDs (well, their digital versions) that I play over and over again. I don't know what it says about me, that I haven't really modified this list for a few years...but just like comfort food, these are my comfort CDs (in alphabetical order):

Coldplay - Parachutes
David Gray - White Ladder
Dido - No Angel
Eagle-Eye Cherry - Desireless
Massive Attack - Mezzanine
Moby - Play
Twilight Singers - Twilight
The Wallflowers - Breach
Toad the Wet Sprocket - Dulcinea, In Light Syrup
Tricky - Blowback, Pre-Millennium Tension
U2 - All That You Can't Leave Behind

Occasionally, I'll slip in Red Hot Chili Peppers' Californication, or any of the Jane's Addiction albums, or Dave Navarro's Trust No One. If I got off my butt and ripped more of my CDs, there would be at least three Everything But the Girl CDs -- the really old ones. Portishead should be in there, too, but isn't yet. Man, I should do that....but I'm in the middle of working. I always think about adding more to my "uninterruptable" rotation...when I'm uninterruptable. Oh well!

Saturday, June 12, 2004
me, and the product diffusion curve
For someone who constantly reads about cutting-edge technology on the market and enjoys it immensely, I never fall in the "innovators" category, and only rarely fall into the "early adopters" category. For some things I happily fall in the "early majority" but for other things, I surprisingly fall in the "laggard" area, or at the very least, "late majority". For example, I own a laptop with a 17" monitor, and would pretty much wither up and die without it, but I do not own a VCR, DVD player, nor do I have digital cable. But that doesn't mean I don't want those things...I think it's a money issue. I'd rather spend moola on groceries and/or paying the bills and/or debt I have stacked up; if I really, really want to watch something on DVD, I have friends I can beg.

So when it comes to cool new technology, I go for the free things. In this case, the Mozilla products. I used the first few versions of the Mozilla Web browser, way back in '98 and '99, and loved them quite a bit. But then I switched back to Netscape when the late version 6 and first version 7 came out, and I use that whenever I can, which is most of the time (unless some dummy has created a Web-based tool that I have to use for something work-related, and it only works in IE because they use non-standard client-side scripting....not that it's a peeve or anything....).

On a whim (that, and someone I know uses it), I decided to try Firefox. It installed fine, launched fine, worked fine...but what it was missing was the extra edge that would make me uninstall Netscape 7.1, and I didn't find it. Pages were rendered the same, and as quickly. The memory usage on my machine was the same, and sometimes was larger for Firefox (strange, I thought, but whatever). Everything that I do in NS 7.1, I could do in Firefox, with no discernible difference in the speed or execution of the tasks I perform on a daily basis. So, I uninstalled it.

Then I felt bad, because I want to support the Mozilla folks, so I installed Thunderbird (email and news client). I have been perfectly happy with my email client, The Bat, for the last three years or so that I've used it, but I retired The Bat and am now using Thunderbird. The feature set is virtually identical, and in some cases even the menus and helper text are identical, but the footprint for Thunderbird is slightly less, and the Mozilla folks are local, so they get my support. That has to be one of the silliest reasons for switching email clients, but when the pro list and the con list is identical, things like that become the tiebreakers.

Friday, June 11, 2004
best line...
in a rant about how much people suck: "it's not like you got pregnant by accident and had a puppy or kitten". Read the entire blog entry for context. :)

Thursday, June 10, 2004
[ʧisisitik]
If the IPA characters aren't visible to you in the title of this post, assume that what you see in the brackets is a phonetic representation of a phrase that's pretty darn similar to how English-speaking folk would pronounce "cheese steak". When I see a blog post called "Chinese Philadelphia Food", I just have to read it. I'm from Pennsylvania, and we're a strange but slightly creative lot. This slightly-off sense of creativity extends to a particular Chinese food establishment called Evergreen (4726 Spruce Street, Philly). According to the blog entry, at Evergreen you can find something on the menu called 芝士士的. In Cantonese, according to the blog "The first character means 'grass, lawn'. The second and third mean 'scholar, gentleman'. And the fourth means 'clear' or 'a little'."

Obviously, the restaurant was not offering small, grassy-flavored gentlemen for lunch, but what they were offering, when the characters were pronounced phonetically, was [ʧisisitik]....cheese steak, a Philly tradition. Head over to the blog if you are so inclined, to read more about how this fella (a linguist) happened to figure out what was up with their menu...and even for a picture of 芝士士的巻, or "cheese steak roll". Heck, I might have to go to Philly the next time I visit my family, for this $1.20 delicacy.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004
i did not fail my phonetics class...
although I did get a Very Poor Grade on my final, to match my Very Poor Grade on my midterm. My saving grace, as expected, was my paper on Yapese Phonetics...an A, thankfully. Thus, by attending almost every class and turning in all of my assignments, I managed a B- in the class. If only I had a test-taking talent (which I do not)....

In other news, while I tried to fail my QBA class, I did not. I got a B. I half-heartedly was trying to tank it, so I could get a crappy grade and thus re-take it with a sane professor. But I'll take the B, and move on.

Other grades were acceptable...I'm not like Kate, who gets all As. :)

Tuesday, June 08, 2004
turnitin.com results
I am 100% original! Oh, so very good to know.

i am a census geek
I love the census. I spend hours reading census images. There's a point to it, as I do family history research for my own family and the families of select friends (those who ask, or those who have much more interesting families than mine!). From 1790 to 1930, in the US and the UK, I can find information about anyone. I find it utterly fascinating to know that in 1850, one of my great-great-great grandfathers owned $50 worth of real estate and $100 worth of personal possessions. Or, in 1920, the majority of men and women in my hometown were employed at the textile mills or the steelworks. My friends have much more interesting families, such as the one whose family didn't appear in the 1880 census because the husband was off in China (with his family in tow), being the ambassador to that country, from the United States. Another friend, her family managed to elude the census, purposefully, for several decades.

While I could go on and on with stories from the census, such as what specifically was tracked during each census year, in each country, this blog entry was prompted by a blog entry that mentioned where Dante Gabriel Rossetti lived -- number 16 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea -- "for roughly ten years after his wife's death in 1862." Being the curious person that I am, I headed over to the 1871 UK Census and in about 5 minutes had the census page for said Mr. Rossetti. It seems a wee bit understated that his occupation is simply listed as "artist". Uh yeah, you think?

plagiarism, redux
A long time ago, last month in fact, I was discussing plagiarism and spoke of turnitin.com. Well, today I had a chance to use it, for the first time, as part of a class I am taking. Summer Session #1 started yesterday, so for the next 4 weeks I will be taking Biology 101: Origins of Life. Why on earth is someone with an English BA, getting a BS in Business Administration (Management), taking Bio 101, you may ask? Advanced General Education requirement, of course. It fits the Area R, "Earth & Environment", requirement. I'm actually excited about it, as I the last science class I took was 14 years ago (wow), and this one in particular is geared toward non-science majors (yay). As such, there is plenty of writing, and all of our little essays have to be uploaded and checked through turnitin.com. Since this is the first instance I've seen this system applied in the classroom, personally, I figured it was specific to this instructor. Apparently not -- according to her explanation, the college of science at my school has the worst cheaters in the university, "even worse than engineering", she said. Given what I've seen in the Business school, and the fact that the b-school doesn't require usage of turnitin.com, the science and engineering schools but really have a lot of cheaters.

So, I wrote my 500 word essay. As an aside, I don't think it really qualifies as an essay. I mean really, three paragraphs? That's less than a blog entry. :) I uploaded it to turnitin.com (it was a very straightforward process so points for them) and I have to say, I'm actually anxious about it. Of course, I have absolutely no reason in the world to be anxious, as I know that I sat at my laptop for twenty minutes and busted it out all on my own, but what if I'm a terribly unoriginal writer? What if my phrasing is so unoriginal that it matches that of other people? Obviously, this is a completely irrational fear, but until I see my little content-matching (or not) report in a few days, it'll still weigh on my mind. Not terribly heavily, but there nonetheless.

some people and their comments...
I have a friend who is an outstanding writer. He needs to write a book about....anything. Sometimes you will see comments from him, attached to posts in my blog. In fact, I upgraded my HaloScan account just to eliminate the 1500-character limit for comments...only for him to run into a 3000-character limit. :) He's new to this blogging thing, he has his own blog (not updated nearly enough...ahem, ahem), but I haven't introduced him to the wonderful world of trackback yet. So, if you happen to stumble across a post of mine, with a long comment from a guy named Lewis (like this one), read it...the comment, that is. His comment will offer more to the world than any poop that I happen to write!

This fella also writes articles for his company. None of his articles have anything to do with any of my interests at all, as they deal with religion/spirituality, songwriting, being a performer, the process of creating art, and so forth. But, I post his articles for him as part of my job, and as such I am obligated to read them just to make sure everything is where it should be. Invariably, I end up getting teary over something, and/or I learn something new, but most important of all it shows me that there's at least one very religious fella out there that isn't a closed-minded buffoon (in fact, he's quite the opposite).

Sunday, June 06, 2004
the new harry potter movie
Trekked out with the pals to see the film on Friday night, and I gotta say..."eh". As in "it was ok". Maybe all my senses were dulled after standing in line for 3 hours, but I only got teary once during the whole 2 hours and 19 minutes. Or maybe the it was that the last movie I saw was Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and now all movies will pale in comparison. I doubt that, though. I think this was just an average movie. I go to the movies so infrequently that I kinda wish I had seen Shrek instead. If I never make it out to see Shrek, I'll definitely feel that way. Oh well.

Friday, June 04, 2004
happy planet
Again with the "I'm a sucker for marketing"....while browsing the juices at Whole Foods, I saw these smaller-than-the-others (11oz) and thus cheaper-than-the-others (1.69) bottles with cute logos and nice graphics -- Happy Planet juices! They come complete with messages and nice words like "three cheers for recycling". I was confused when I looked at the nutritional facts and saw "fibre" instead of "fiber", then realized Happy Planet is Canadian. This is only important in that those of you who do not live in Canada, Washington, Oregon, or California will have lobby harder to get Happy Planet juices in your store. Visit their site for more information. Right now, I am drinking currant passion, a fruit and herbal tea cooler, but I am looking forward to trying crangerine, c's the day and radical sabbatical. mmm mmm good.

Thursday, June 03, 2004
timewasters
I am easily distracted by those quizilla quizzes, like "What Color is Your Brain?" (gold) and "What childhood toy from the 80s are you?" (speak-n-spell). But as I was perusing the Rum and Monkey site referenced in an earlier post, I stumbled on their tests & widgets section...it takes the little quiz thing to a completely different level, what with "The Historical Lunatic Test" (Caligula), "Which Famous Homosexual Are You?" (Cary Grant), "Which Colossal Death Robot Are You?" (ABC Warrior) and "Which Evil Criminal are You?" (Harry S. Truman) among others. Like I need to waste time, since both my boss and my editor have been reported to read this blog. :)

funny stuff by someone else
I just chuckled so hard, I spit water on my cat. Today's post at Rum and Monkey is called "Literature for the Imminently Dead", and it contains some funny, funny stuff. Owen Goodyear takes numerous classics from literature and summarizes them in five words. I've read all of the books on this list, save one (yes, that surprised me, too), and can attest to the truthfulness of his summaries. I do believe my favorite is:

THE BIBLE (God with co-writers)
Creation!
begat
begat
begat
Saved!

Although they are all utterly hilarious.

thermochemistry
It's always throws me off when two of my worlds collide, as they did when I saw a Slashdot post (geeky world) about a Wired article (hip geeky world) about Alton Brown (foodie world), one of my favorite Food Network hosts. Alton Brown is a very funny man, and I learn a lot from his show, Good Eats. Anyway, the Wired article is all about how AB breaks down cooking into scientific components. For example, when talking about how pie crust becomes flaky, he'll talk about protein structures and what not. The article describes Good East as "a cross between Julia Child's Kitchen Wisdom and MacGyver." Ha. I liked MacGyver.

The article mentions a time in a show where "[AB] gets punched in the head by Boxing Nun puppets named Tender and Flaky, as they fight over whether the two textural qualities can coexist in one pie crust" How funny is that? I saw that show. It was very funny. It's shows like this, and Rachel Ray's 30-Minute Meals, and Tyler Florence's Food 911, and good lord, anything that Jamie Oliver does, that really make me like to cook.

Because of the shows and books by these folks -- good cooks with great personalities who really know how to teach someone to do something without being all...Martha Stewart -- I've almost broken myself of the eating-boxed-food habit. However, there are two really good, really cheap things that I've found recently. First, Annie Chun's fresh-pack noodle bowls, Miso and Udon variety. They list at $3.29 each, which is more than I'll pay for meals-in-a-box, but Whole Foods has had them for $1.99 for the longest time, which is a good price. Cut up some shiitake mushrooms and throw 'em in, and these make a hearty meal. The other good finds were the various Thai Kitchen instant rice noodle packs...for $0.69 each. That's twice the price of Ramen, but Ramen sucks and these do not. I usually do two packs of the noodles to one pack of the flavor stuff, because I'm just like that...not because they're overly salty or anything. I haven't decided which I like best yet, but I am leaning toward the Lemongrass & Chili flavor.

Golly, now I'm looking forward to lunch!

Saturday, May 29, 2004
the vets
Today, the WWII Memorial was dedicated, in Washington DC. How the hell it took 60 years for these folks to get a monument, that's beyond me. "The greatest generation", these folks are called, and I sure won't argue with that. As a kid, I was always fascinated by the Army, and war. Not in some weird way, but in some reverential way. I completely understood the sense of honor and duty and patriotism, even as a kid. One of the only things I remember about my great-grandmother's house was the picture of my great-grandfather on the wall, as an old man, holding his silver star. He came to the United States from Italy, via Ellis Island, in 1916. He gained his citizenship by enlisting in the Army and going back to Europe to fight in WWI, whereupon he took out a German machine gun nest and thus was awarded his medal. My great-grandfather died a few months before I was born, but I'll bet he had some stories.

When I was in the third grade, most of the books I read were made-for-kids biographies of famous people. I must have read the Dwight D. Eisenhower biography tons of times, plus the books for MacArthur and Pershing. My absolute favorite books, for many years, were Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Guadalcanal Diary and John F. Kennedy and PT-109. I wanted to go to West Point, and be in the Army. Obviously, I didn't.

So, I watched the WWII Memorial dedication, and I cried (as I am apt to do at anything on TV). Both of my grandfathers were in the Navy during WWII, but I don't know a darn thing about where they were or what they did -- they both died when I was eight. I have a picture of my paternal grandfather, in his Navy uniform with his mother and two brothers (who were in their Army uniforms). I once saw another photo of him, giving a haircut to a buddy on a ship. It's a great picture. My other grandfather was also in the Navy. Various other granduncles were also in the military -- because that's what you did when your country called. My maternal grandfather's brother, my granduncle Walter, was the only direct family member who was actually killed in the war. He died on Nov 23, 1943 at Monte Cassino, as the allies were beginning the series of assaults that lasted through the next year. I thought about him, this fella I never knew, who probably looked a lot like the grandfather I don't remember.

In the news stories you read about WWII vets, the memorial, etc, there's a constant theme--that the vets don't talk about the war. Not surprising, as war doesn't tend to be full of happy memories that are meant to be shared. But think about the stories that these everymen have to tell, men that we're losing at a rate of 1,000 per day. This is evident in the obituary section of my hometown newspaper, which I read every day. If there are, say, five obits in one day, four of them are for WWII vets. These men -- and women -- in their 80s, have lines in the obits like "He served with the U.S. Army in WWII with Company A 1913 Engineer Battalion as a cook in the Philippine islands" and "He was a U.S. Air Force veteran, serving with the First Air Commandoes in India and Burma during WWII." These were guys from nowheresville, Pennsylvania, who went off to far-away lands at a young age, survived a war, came back to nowhere, and probably never went anywhere again. Luckily, the Library of Congress has been sponsoring a project for the last few years, where volunteers collect oral histories from the men who served in WWII. I'm glad for that.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004
acceptable use policies
I was outraged this morning, and so confused that I didn't know what to do. I couldn't figure out if I was thinking like an old fuddy-duddy, or a legitimately concerned citizen. It was 8am, and the library had just opened for the day. I was killing time between my final exam and my tutoring session, so I figured I'd go to the library with my trusty laptop, and get some work done. Hooray for the free broadband. This library has plenty of computers on each floor, including the lobby area. Anyone with a library card can reserve time on a computer, to use Office programs or the Internet. I think that's wonderful.

As I was walking by the public computers, on my way to the elevators, there were several students checking their Hotmail accounts, IM-ing, etc. However, one computer was being used by a large, disheveled, older man, who was not checking his Hotmail account. Even from 15 feet away, while walking briskly past it, the 800x600 monitor produced the unmistakable image of a certain female...area. Splayed, even. I kept walking, undoubtedly with a very quizzical look on my face, and boarded the elevator. One other person was in the elevator, and we both had the same quizzical look. "Did you see that?" I said. "Was that...?" she said. "Oh yes," I said, and we both sort of shook our heads and went along our merry ways.

I probably wouldn't have been as outraged, had the computer not been directly beside the entrance to the children's room. I don't care what people view or do in the privacy of their own homes. I don't even mind that porn exists. I am, in fact, thrilled that this library doesn't have blocking software sitting in front of public Internet access, because we all know how well those things work. I guess I just didn't think anyone would actually sit in the middle of the public library and look at porn.

After I sat down and thought about it, I still just wanted to tattle on the person. "He's looking at porn in the library! Make him stop!" But then I thought, wait a minute, is this actually against the access rules? It's not, at least directly:

The Internet may contain material of a controversial or mature nature. The Library neither restricts access to materials found on the Internet nor protects users from materials or information they may find offensive. The Library encourages all users to make appropriate use of the Internet by providing programs and assistance for responsible use.

While surfing porn at a computer situated next to the children's room is certainly not my idea of acceptable use, who's to say what's acceptable? Am I just being an old fuddy-duddy, or does this instance of public internet usage seem pretty darn wrong?

the semester is finally over
I had my last exam this morning -- International Business. It was all multiple choice. I suck tremendously at multiple choice tests. I was always the person in school who voted for essay tests, when given a choice. I always lost. Anyway, school is now over for a few weeks. I am taking one class in each of the summer sessions: Origins of Life (fulfills an advanced GE requirement) and Fundamentals of Human Resource Management. The latter is an elective, and I elected it only because the trememndous budget cuts (which equates to classes being cut from the schedule) in the CSU system leave me little hope of being able to choose electives that I actually want to take. IOW, I'm in "grab whatever will fit into your schedule, as soon as you can" mode. The only positive thing about the HR class is that the instructor runs a very structured, professional-type class (so I've heard, and so I've read on his syllabus) so I will likely have a good experience.

This was a below-average semester for me, grade-wise. I'm sure I got one A, a bunch of Bs and probably two Cs, one of which being Phonetics, which was a fundamental class for a program I'm not even continuing (poor class times). Memorization is not my thing, and the classes I did poorly in are the classes in which I had to memorize, rather than synthesize. I can synthesize with the best of them, but I have the memory of a...well, something that has no memory. Sucks. Oh well -- onward and upward.

Monday, May 24, 2004
a good prank
This prank took some effort: Volcanologists spy pink 'dinosaur' on remote webcam. A Dino aficionado, obviously. That prank took some work!

i know there's a script, but....
I use the Post Office quite a bit. I usually have positive experiences at the post office, because I always have my items in the proper envelopes with the correct little forms all filled out and attached, and I've been going to the same ones for so long that all the workers know me. Now, if you've mailed anything at the post office in the last few years, you know that the employees are trained to ask if there's anything liquid, hazardous, fragile, perishable, etc in the package. You're also asked if you want any insurance, delivery confirmation, etc -- for every item. I usually walk up and put my neatly categorized and labeled items on the counter and say something like "these are all ready to go", at which time the worker says something like "great" and goes about their business of metering the items. Ninety-nine percent of the items I mail are in flat cardboard envelopes, or heavy parcels containing non-jiggly items (ie books).

Today was one of those instances...I had one flat-rate Priority Mail envelope, two cardboard photo mailer envelopes, and one padded envelope that clearly held a book and nothing else. So the woman takes my flat rate Priority Mail envelope and asks if there's anything liquid, hazardous, fragile, perishable, etc and of course I say no. I tried to make my "no" as annoyed/you're an idiot sounding as possible, without actually being rude, but I don't believe she caught on. As I was contemplating what could possible be liquid, hazardous, fragile and/or perishable and be the size of a comic book (as that's what was in the envelope), she asked how soon I'd like it to get there, and if I wanted it to go x, y, or z way. I mistakenly thought that she would realize that while she followed her little script, she could have followed that up with something like "priority, flat rate, ok" without me actually having to say anything. I looked at her, incredulously, then pointed at the clearly-marked "Flat Rate Priority Mail" envelope and said "Priority Mail". We then had to go through the whole "delivery confirmation? insurance? do you want them to sign for it?" thing ("no", "no" and "no") before moving on to the next to pieces, the photo mailers. "First class, please", I said. "Anything liquid, hazardous, fragile, perishable?" she says. Again with the looking at the thin cardboard envelope...."no," I say. "How would you like to mail it," she says. "First class," I say...again. Ok, last package...a book in a padded envelope. I said, "I'll have to see the price difference before I decide which way to send it", so she goes ahead and weighs it, shows me the difference between priority and parcel post and I say "ok, priority it is". Long silence, she's just staring at me. I say again, "Priority, then". Waiting...waiting....she looks at the item. "You want to mail this now?" "Uh, yes..." I said, again trying to sound really annoyed, yet not rude. She launches into "Anything liquid, hazardous, fragile, perishable?" Argh! "No...." "How soon would you like it to get there?" If I could have banged my head on the table without causing a scene, I would have. I swear, it was like a bad post office dream.

Sunday, May 23, 2004
finally made it to the gym
I kept telling myself for weeks, "you can go to the gym when you finish X"..."X" being a chapter, a paper, or something else important. To me, the gym is actually a reward. You certainly wouldn't think so by looking at me, but it really is. So, today I went to the gym, even though I have not finished the chapter due last Wednesday, nor have I finished (obviously) the two chapters due tomorrow. I'll probably get my book taken from me. That sucks, because I really, really, really need the money. I know I should say "that sucks, because I didn't finish what I started", but anyone who knows me knows that I hate writing books and only do it for the money. I only need the money because I make $30K less than my market value, to work in a place that affords me the luxury of being me, and working whatever hours I want, as long as I get the work done. Of course, that means to make up for the lack of money, I have to write books....which I hate doing. It's a horrible cycle that weighs on me every day. Yes, you're right...wah wah wah, get over it. Anyway, the gym is a reward kinda like how the diner is a reward (which is really funny, since one has to go to the gym to counteract the diner food). It's a place where for 45 minutes I can just chill...or sweat, in the case of the gym.

People-watching at the gym is hilarious. I don't people watch to look for cute boys or girls or anything like that...I'm actually fairly oblivious to both of those sets of people. I like to watch the old people, and the people who manage to wander around a gym for at the least the 45 mins I am there, without actually working out! I go to your standard 24-Hour Fitness Sport (aka gym with a pool and steam rooms), and usually go very very very early in the morning, to avoid crowds. The first day I worked out there, I saw this 70+year old man on the elliptical machine. He was on it the entire time I was there, while his similarly-aged wife was doing the Nautilus circuit. I do some time on the elliptical and then do the full-body Nautilus workout...on this particular day I followed this old lady from machine to machine, adjusting the weights when it was my turn. Adjusting the weights downward, that is. That little old lady could probably kick my ass. I've seen this couple doing the same workout each day I've been at the gym. I think that's wonderful.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are the non-workout people. These are the ones that walk on the treadmill at like 2 miles per hour for 30 minutes and think they're done. Now, if these people were very large and had never seen a treadmill before, I'd be saying "good job!" and cheering them on. But these treadmill walkers are always like 110 pounds. What's up with that? I'm a large person whose knees are a mess, and I'd have to try really really hard to walk that slow. I've never seen any of them sweat, and I've never seen any of them lift a weight. Whatever works, though...but I'd have a hard time justifying $40/mo when I could get the same amount of exercise that they're getting, by walking to the mailbox. Then there are the folks who sit on the Nautilus machines but don't actually do anything. I don't know if they're psyching themselves up for the triceps extensions (ok, bad example, because I have to psyche myself up for that one.) or what, but it's strange to see someone sitting on a machine and not lifting for a loooong period of time. When they do lift, it's like 5 reps. If they're on the next machine in the row, you have to be polite and wait a minute, then ask "uh, are you done?", which is always sort of embarrasing for them. I do my 4 sets of 12 and move on to the next machine, then they go back and do their 5 more reps. If they were doing a really excessive weight, and like 5 sets of 5, maybe that would be ok. But 5 reps, then wandering around, then 5 more reps..I mean really, what are these people there for? Maybe these people have a lot of time on their hands, I don't know. I'm the queen of the 45 minute full-body workouts...that's about my attention span. Good times.

Friday, May 21, 2004
two down, two to go
finals, that is. The two gnarly math-related ones (QBA and Finance) are now over. I know I got at least a C in both classes, which is fine, but I hate Cs and don't strive for them. Bs would be ok. As are out of the question for these classes. Two finals next week are Phonetics and International Business. Scared to death of the former (I still can't remember symbols to save my life), not concerned about the latter.

Thursday, May 20, 2004
the word of the day is...
kerfuffle, meaning to cause a commotion or fuss. Thanks, 19th century Scots.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
crappy students redux
I've written before about how I don't understand poor studentship, but yesterday was the last day of classes and something really annying happened. In my phonetics class, my phonetic buddy and myself both had agonized over our term projects, spent all weekend writing our papers, etc -- because they were due yesterday. In class, as it became time for the prof to go around the room collecting the papers, fully one third of the class didn't have them. Most of them said things like "I'll turn it in tomorrow", one person said "I'll turn it in on Friday" and so forth. It's not like the due date shifted around, it was always due on the last day of class, and we've all known for the same amount of time, what the term paper was about and so forth. I know life isn't fair, blah blah, but what's wrong with these people, that they couldn't turn their work in on time and the rest of us busted our tails to do it -- and there are no ramifications? Not a one. In a class when the prof berated a woman publicly for turning in loose-leaf pages of field research, instead of in a bound notebook per the requirements, she had no comment for the next person in the row, who didn't even have their paper finished! That isn't right.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004
today's sports outrage
I am a hardcore sports fan. I'm not so hard core as those Raider Nation folks who dress up and paint their faces, and I don't have the cash to go to games, but I care about sports and thoroughly read the sports page/ESPN.com every day. From t-ball to indy cars to horse racing, if it's got people, animals or cars competing against one another, I'm all over it. I am also a girl, and I've heard that since I'm a girl and I like sports that I must automatically enjoy and support women's sports. That's a pet peeve I'll write about another day. I enjoy well-played sports...that means well-played women's sports and well-played men's sports, but NOT poorly-executed women's sports or poorly-executed men's sports. I'm an equal opportunity hater when it comes to that.

I'm all for equality. Title IX is a good thing. Women should have the same opportunities as men, etc. But my outrage of the day is this: Ashley McElhiney to Coach Nashville Rhythm. Ashley McElhiney is a woman. The Nashville Rhythm is a men's ABA (read "very minor league") team. If Ashley McElhiney came to the table with head coaching experience, assistant coaching experience, even rec-league manager experience, I wouldn't be so outraged. But Ashley McElhiney is a 22 year old former D1 point guard, with no coaching experience, let alone with men.

When something like this happens, a hiring that is obviously for publicity reasons, it does not help women further themselves in the coaching profession. I'm not anti-Ashley McElhiney, even though she went to an SEC school (Vandy) and I root for ACC and Big 12 schools. From what I recall, she was a very good point guard with exceptional leadership qualities, who made her teammates better. She also didn't make the WNBA team that drafted her (Indiana), but playing at a high level doesn't necessarily correlate to coaching at a high level (Lawrence Frank). Coaching experience correlates to coaching at a high level, and this woman doesn't have it.

The Nashville Rhythm is an expansion ABA team. No doubt this hiring was meant to generate interest in the new team, and I'm sure press coverage is going to be guaranteed for all of the Nashville Rhythm games, to see how the lady coach is doing. From a marketing standpoint, that's all well and good. As a sports fan, it actually makes me care less about the team, because it appears they didn't even try to get a qualified coach. Who are the players? Not a clue (note: tryouts haven't started yet), but I sure know the coach's name.

Sally Anthony, the owner of the team, said the following in the press release:
"I've said from day one that my goal was not only to put a competitive team on the floor, but to give qualified females opportunities they are not normally afforded," Anthony said. "Ultimately, I think the Nashville Rhythm, and the ABA as a whole, can be a stepping stone for a qualified woman to coach in the NBA. If women like Carly Fiorina can successfully lead companies like Hewlett Packard, I think it's pretty clear Cheryl Miller or Nancy Lieberman could have phenomenal success leading an NBA team."

Good for her, for wanting to "give qualified females opportunities they are not normally afforded". That's wonderful. But while it's her right to hire whomever she wants, her judgment seems to be a little off when it comes to defining "qualified". All she did by hiring McElhiney was set her up for failure, and set back what would probably be a very promising career down the line -- after she paid her coaching dues. Leading Hewlett-Packard was not Carly Fiorina's first job out of college...there were at least 20 years of work at AT&T and Lucent in between. Cheryl Miller and Nancy Lierberman, sure they could coach men somewhere -- because they have enormous experience with the game and respect of the players. McElhiney doesn't have that experience, and only time will tell if she earns the respect of her players. It's unfortunate that she didn't recognize that taking this job is a recipe for disaster. If she does well, through her own ability and the play of her team, I will be the first one to say "good on ya".

The more likely outcome is that she will fail, and it will give sportswriters/radio hosts an opening to say quite loudly "see?!? women shouldn't coach men". The real point is that no one, regardless of gender, should have jobs for which they are not qualified. If Anthony really wanted to hire a women to coach her team, I can think of a dozen or so women off the top of my head who would have been better hires. It's unfortunate that an opportunity to do something positive regarding women and sports will likely backfire. Could've picked better, Ms. Anthony.

last day of classes
today is the last day of classes! I hesitate to get too excited, because the last day of class is also just the first day of finals week(s)...and my finals are stretched out over many days. I believe that's supposed to be a good thing, but I'd rather have them all on one day and get them over with. This week is apparantly math week, as my QBA and Finance finals are on Thursday night and Friday morning, respectively. Next week is filled with the excitement of Phonetics and International Business. Thankfully, I scored well enough in the class so far, that I don't have to take my Organizational Management final...

Monday, May 17, 2004
i love diners
I was introduced to diner food at a very young age. In my hometown there's a truly greasy spoon diner called Red's, smack dab in the middle of nowhere, but on the only road between nowhere and somewhere. Good for truckers, also good for families after church, and everything in-between. I can still imagine the taste of their salad dressing, which I'm not exactly sure is a good thing. Chicken and waffles were a'plenty (note to all of you who have no idea what this is, just assume it's a really good thing), the coffee was suitably crappy, and the onion rings were spectacular -- the kind that would soak through the bag by the time you got home, if you had leftovers. One of my most vivid memories as a child was when we took some of the nuns from our church out to dinner, and a cockroach crawled onto the table. Since I was probably around 10 years old, it's quite possible that particular event never happened, and I am combining stories, but the point is, this particular diner made quite an impression on my as a child.

My dad drives a truck and is often on the road at various times of the night. I would go along with him when I was a kid, and we would go to Red's, and Stop 35, the Clark's Ferry trucker plaza and plenty of other places like that. Family lore has it that my parent's wedding night was spent with my dad working, my mom going along, and a gourmet meal at The Spot, some other diner-like place. It may even have been just a hot dog stand, I'm not sure. But the point is, love for cheap, greasy food came naturally to me. If it weren't for Waffle House, I never would have made it through college...but that's a story for another time.

California is sans Waffle House, but I found my own greasy spoon called Peanuts, which happens to be right next to campus. It opens at 630am, and the same group of people are always there, myself included. I get the cheese omelet special, which is a cheese omelet, a pile of potatoes, two pieces of toast and a coffee -- for 4 bucks. 4 bucks! In California! Those are non-California prices, which is one of the main reasons I like it so much. Plus, it's super good and a ton of food. Sometimes I branch out and get a mushroom omelet, or if I'm feeling really happy, a tomato/avocado/bacon omelet. Still under five bucks, and even more food. I don't understand how I can love both Peanuts and hip/cool/good restaurants like 7, but I manage quite well. Good stuff.

Sunday, May 16, 2004
phonetics
I just wrote a paragraph in my term paper, regarding "interesting" observations concerning the interchangeable usage of the voiced alveolar trill and the voiced retroflex approximant in Yapese. It's not that interesting, but gosh darn it, I wrote about it! What a loooooong day. When I finish this paper, I will reward myself with some food, perhaps some coffee, and then will start back on my Plone book. Whee. (not)

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