No Fancy Name
Sunday, October 31, 2004
plone book errata
Oh, the beauty of a short book—short review time! I just completed the errata for Plone Content Management Essentials and it wasn't too bad. I didn't note things like style-formatting issues (things that should be bold but aren't, things that should be monospace type but aren't) in the errata, because that information just goes back to the publisher for the second printing (if there is one) and doesn't affect anything the user might do. But even those issues weren't that big of a deal.

It's a remarkably readable book (in my opinion). I cracked myself up as I was looking over it, because I can totally tell what I was doing when I wrote certain things, like if I was dealing with a particularly annoying client request at the time, or something like that. For example, I may harp about how translating content, localizing a web site and internationalizing an application are not all the same thing, which was probably the result of having to explain for the forty-seventh time to someone the difference between the three.

Also, I forgot that in addition to my cousin's kitten being featured in a screenshot on page 65, a silly photo of my parents is also featured in a screenshot on page 90. Ha!

happy halloween!

(Yes Dad, I did turn my clocks back.)

Saturday, October 30, 2004
NFL Predictions, Week 8
It's the eighth installment of the Julie v Curtis NFL picks extravaganza, in which Julie is currently leading (66% to 55%). We only differ by three picks this week, which means we'll probably both go down in flames.

Looks like the beginning of a Curtis comeback!
Apparently I was on the wrong side of the "pick 'em" coin flip.
Ha! I tricked you into following my DET-pickin' plan!
I believe we can say that KC has gotten their shit together.
I am very, very pleased that PIT won, despite the fact that I didn't pick them to do so. Really! Ask my Dad!
Oh well. We suck. What are you gonna do.

WEEKS 1-7 RESULTS66/10056/102

Speaking of which, that was a good CD. I think I'll download it from iTunes!

Anyway, I am off to the Stanford Blood Center for my every-56-days donation. According to their inventory page, 35 donations of O- are needed today. They'll be getting mine!

I actually ate something just now, which marks the first time I've actually eaten something before going to give blood. What an idiot.

UPDATE Stupid low iron. I get to go back again next week, after a week of eating more Cream of Wheat. This happens every time.

Friday, October 29, 2004
book writin' update
This week, my Plone book hit the streets, which means that I have a copy in my hands to review for printing/other errata. The book is very small (by techie book standards), only 224 pages of actual content. As such, turns out they had to make it a one-off and not part of the "development" series (which means no gargoyle cover). I told them it was going to be short. So, it's name is Plone Content Management Essentials, because when you write a short book just put "essentials" in the title and no one will expect it to be long! Seriously though, I didn't intend for it to be long, because I don't really cover technical development or reference-guide material. Others have already written that book.

Call me crazy, but I like to write books with full sentences and (gasp!) lengthy paragraphs. This book is all about how a manager might go about implementing a system, including the all-important "why" as well as the "how". Anyway, it's a short book so I should get through it fairly quickly. Then again, I still have a book sitting on my desk from May that I haven't reviewed (and it's gone into a second printing already, I hear. Oops!).

Yesterday, I got the e-mail that the PMA AiO 2e PDFs are ready for review, which is the last step before printing/shipping/raking in the dough (I'm kidding about that last part). This book is 2x the length of the Plone book, so....ack! I have to review the files by Tuesday AM. It's cool though, because the Sams folks are usually really good at layout.

On the blogging book front, my proposal/TOC has been through three revs since I sent it—a good sign, because it means they're talking it over and trying to improve it before it goes up for approval. It shifted in scope from blogging in general/platform independent to blogging in general/Blogger-specific, which is fine with me! So, if it is approved, it will be Sams Teach Yourself Blogger in 10 Minutes instead of Sams Teach Yourself Blogging in 10 Minutes. Whoop de do. My proposal/TOC is being externally reviewed now (which means that my editor sends it off to other people in the field and they answer some questions about the viability of the book, the validity of the TOC, etc. I've done this for them, for other people's books, and I am hoping that this isn't a karma issue—I've given proposals the thumbs-down before!) and hopefully would go up for approval on Nov. 8th. Notice that I keep saying "approval"...just trying to be positive.

What am I really stressing about, though? A silly little 4-page essay for my Victorian Lit class, due on Thursday.

PS If anyone actually wants a 224-page book on Plone, I have seven extras to give away.

Really, don't everyone jump at once. :)

Thursday, October 28, 2004
i am dissatisfied with all of my music
Music once played an inordinately large role in my life. Then, for long and complicated reasons, it didn't. In the last five or so years I've been back in the musical swing of things—music is important to my writing process and so forth—but I've been in a rut. I had the same six CDs in my car for well over a year, and was quite satisfied with them until I realized that I had the same six CDs in my car for well over a year and I should probably get off my duff and swap them out. But with what? No six-CD combo from my collection worked anymore, so it was sports talk radio and NPR for me. I'd occasionally try again, cycle through six CDs, then six more, and so on, but to no avail.

Then I got the brilliant idea to actually go to the music store! I got some stuff, wasn't too thrilled, sold stuff back and so on. It's not that I have specific tastes (one look at the tracks stored on my laptop would tell you that!), it's just that I haven't found anything spectacular to replace the things I really like.

Here's what I've bought recently, and my reactions:
- The Killers "Hot Fuss"
- Franz Ferdinand
- Travis "The Invisible Band"
[for all three above: eh. Didn't dislike, but not car-rotation-worthy.]

- Morrissey "You Are the Quarry"
[eh. I guess my Morrissey/Smiths phase really was over long ago.]

- REM "Around the Sun"
[I've always liked REM. I wasn't terribly thrilled with this CD. Probably not car-rotation-worthy]

- Gerard McHugh "Tales of Madness and Horror"
[Anyone who knows me knows that I think Gerard is one of the greatest American songwriters ever. Ever, I tell ya. Not "greatest singer"...he's got one of those voices you have to get past, bless his heart. But seriously, if you ever have a chance to get his CD More Than I, it's a keeper. Or at least read the lyrics. The man can turn a phrase. Anyway, I got this CD just because it's a few years old and I didn't want to have an incomplete discography. But I wasn't terribly thrilled with it, and I am sad about that.]

- Patrick Park "Under the Unminding Skies"
[A year ago, I heard an interview on NPR with this Patrick Park fella, who had just released his CD Loneliness Knows My Name. That CD was one of the omnipresent six CDs in my car, and it's a really, really good CD. I got the "Unminding" EP just for discography completeness and not really for musical quality—it's the indie EP that helped him get his "real" deal so it's a lot of earlier versions of songs, etc.]

- Twilight Singers "Blackberry Belle"
[Since Jan 2001, "Twilight as Played by the Twilight Singers" has been one of my favorite CDs. It is a featured CD in my "music to write by" playlist, and to think it was a random find, not by me! Twilight Singers is basically Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs fame. Voldemort*, with whom I was spending a lot of time in 2001, ran across this CD at a listening station and brought it home, whereupon it fell into everyday work and play rotation. I stole this particular CD from her before all things went to shit (it's only fair, since four of my CDs ended up not returned to me!) and despite the connection, I still love the CD. Anyway, "Blackberry Belle" is a 2003 release that I never got around to buying, and I like it as more music for the writing times, but not a car CD.]

So, I still have no new music for the car. I may just go back to those same six CDs.

* In the Harry Potter series, "Voldemort" is name of He-who-must-not-be-named, and in my blog it's the name I'll be using for She-who-must-not-be-named, although if I could, it'd be a great story. Damn personal ethics.

the nine layers meme
[via kmsqrd, and Curtis did it too but on his Two Truths and a Lie blog]

Name: julie
Birth date: dec 30, 1973 dad was pleased for the last-minute tax deduction
Birthplace: lewistown, pa
Current Location: san jose, ca
Eye Color: hazel
Hair Color: brown
Height: 5'7 3/4" but darn right I put 5'8" on my driver's license!
Righty or Lefty: righty
Zodiac Sign: capricorn

Your heritage: only looking 5 gen. backward, I'm 50% Italian, 25% German, 22% English, 3% Scottish, although a chunk of that English number is actual French further back (geneaology geek)
The shoes you wore today: black Skechers leather oxfords
Your weakness: my crappy instincts about people, fancy food
Your fears: heights, snakes, spiders
Your perfect pizza: sauce-free + ricotta cheese + roma tomatoes + basil + olive oil
Goal you'd like to achieve: teach freshman comp

Your most overused phrase on IM: hey
Your first waking thoughts: oh shit, what time is it?
Your best physical feature: n/a
Your most missed memory: hanging out with Voldemort (and that's the closest I've gotten in 250+ blog posts to mentioning girls)

Pepsi or Coke: coke
McDonald's or Burger King: mcd's
Group/Single Dates: n/a
Adidas or Nike: adidas
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: if I have to choose here, then lipton sweetened, no lemon. but my favorite iced tea ever is this weird syrupy concentrate my grandmother makes on the stove...followed closely by Hardee's or Waffle House sweet tea.
Chocolate or Vanilla: vanilla
Cappuccino or coffee: coffee

Smoke: no
Cuss: hell yes
Sing: only when no one's around
Take a shower everyday: usually; if I'm going out into the world, yes
Do you think you've been in love: yes
Want to go to college: did
Liked high school: didn't go
Want to get married: n/a
Believe in yourself: sure
Get motion sickness: no
Think you're attractive: no
Think you're a health freak: no
Get along with your parent(s): 2800 miles away, yes
Like thunderstorms: absolutely
Play an instrument: many years ago, I did (guitar)

LAYER SIX: In the past month…
Drank alcohol: yes
Smoked: no
Done a drug: no
Made Out: no
Gone on a date: no
Gone to the mall?: yes
Eaten an entire box of Oreos?: no
Eaten sushi: yes, and I would every day if I could
Been on stage: no
Been dumped: no
Gone skating: no
Made homemade cookies: yes; maple hazlenut blondies that didn't work out, and white chocolate macadamia nut blondies that did.
Dyed your hair: no
Stolen Anything: no

Played a game that required removal of clothing: no
If so, was it mixed company: n/a
Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: trashed, yes
Been caught "doing something": yes
Been called a tease: no
Gotten beaten up: yes
Shoplifted: no
Changed who you were to fit in: yes; it didn't work out (let that be a lesson!)

Age you hope to be married: n/a
Numbers and Names of Children: n/a
Describe your Dream Wedding: n/a
How do you want to die: quickly
Where you want to go to college: went; it was in Virginia
What do you want to be when you grow up: financially comfortable
What country would you most like to visit: Scotland

Number of drugs taken illegally: enough to know better
Number of people I could trust with my life: 2
Number of CDs that I own: 131
Number of piercings: 7
Number of tattoos: 12
Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper?: 2 that I know about
Number of scars on my body: good lord, a lot. I can think of at least 10 that people could see if they looked.
Number of things in my past that I regret: 6

Wednesday, October 27, 2004
curse this!
Yay, BOSTON! Not the Bankees, but Boston!

Curt Schilling just earned himself a $2M bump in pay, and a guaranteed year in 2007. People thought it was cute that he wrote the "when the Red Sox win..." clauses into his contract. How about "prophetic"?

Theo: re-sign Varitek and Lowe, and for god's sake give David Ortiz a raise.

Looks like my time as a member of the "my team isn't in the playoffs so I'm definitely rooting for Boston" club is over...go Giants! Sigh.

can we just call him "Nubya"
("Nub" in the "disparaging term for a newbie/dumbass" sense)

Because, you see, the Internets are only sposed to work in 'merika for the 'merikans.

[via BoingBoing/Slashdot]

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
desktop angel

desktop angel
[click to embiggen!]

When the "puppet Angel" episode was aired, I thought it was the funniest thing ever. My buddy sent me a screen grab off the video feed, and I cleaned it up and made it desktop wallpaper (it's centered on a black background).

Every time I look at it, it makes me chuckle. It's a puppet vampire.

I have my computer at school with me all the time. Everyone who walks past looks at it, looks at me, looks confused, moves on. I know it's not Survivor, but I know that more people than four watch Angel. Even if you don't, come's funny! It's a puppet!

Monday, October 25, 2004
my morning with the mormons
On Saturday, I spent some time with the Mormons. I thought maybe God would strike me dead for pulling into the parking lot while listening to the Notre Dame game on the radio, but I made it in unscathed. Ok, so I was only going to the attached Family History Center, but still—it's Mormon ground. I often go to the FHC to request microfilm from SLC or look at the books and film they already have there. Say what you will about the Mormons, but dang...those people can keep some records!

It took me some time, initially, to work up the courage to go to the FHC. I know that sounds silly but I have issues with religion and churches (period) as well as a general dislike for going into places I've never been. I read all the FAQs about the FHCs, the first of which is "Do I have to listen to your Church missionaries if I visit the family history center?" The answer is "No, but you're welcome to ask questions if you see one." Whew! I've never heard any religious discussion during any of the times I've been there. In fact, I'd venture to guess that the only actual church members in the center at any given time are the two people staffing it. Regardless, I'm always the youngest one in there...usually folks are over sixty, or at least look it. They seem to get a kick out of me. Then again, who wouldn't? (I'm kidding about that.)

I research the family history of myself and four friends, and we all have vastly different backgrounds. I have this goal of finding a common ancestor between all my closest friends, so I can say things like "You're my 24th cousin 10 times removed." So far, no luck. But I'm only a few years into it, so I'm holding out hope.

(Incidently, if any reader wants to know what their families looked like in the census records from 1850 to 1930, let me know. It's great fun (or really depressing) to see the occupations of people and rents paid/home values in 1930.)

Sunday, October 24, 2004
halloween, 1983

i WAS an ewok for halloween (in 1983)
[click to embiggen!]

My mom managed to scan this photo (circa 1983) of a nine-year-old me in my Ewok costume.

I am terribly disappointed in my mother, as she seems not to have made matching furry gloves! (I'm kidding, mom.)

Despite my ultra-cool costumes, I never won any sort of costume contest at my (catholic) school. I think my costumes were a little too "out there" for the priests and nuns.

Saturday, October 23, 2004
NFL Predictions, Week 7
It's the seventh installment of the Julie v Curtis NFL picks extravaganza, in which Julie is currently leading (66% to 57%). Curtis made a comeback last week, with a respectable 10-picks-correct day. He still didn't beat me, though. This may be the week!

94% of Yahoo! Pick'em users were also wrong, so I don't feel so bad.
I see no reason to stop pickng Detroit. :)
I really thought ATL was still better enough than KC to overcome the KC crowd, but boy oh boy was I (and 55% of Yahoo! Pick'em users) wrong.
Another instance in which 96% of us were wrong!

WEEKS 1-6 RESULTS57/8650/88

Friday, October 22, 2004
candidate loyalty (two quizzes)
[via bonnie]

The George W. Bush Loyalty Quiz
My results: Your score is 0 on a scale of 1 to 10. You hate Bush with a writhing passion. You think he is an idiot, a liar, and a warmonger who has been a miserable failure as president. Nothing would give you greater pleasure than seeing him run out of the White House, except maybe seeing him dragged away in handcuffs.

Absolutely 100% correctamundo.

The John Kerry Loyalty Quiz
My results: Your score is 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. You are a pure, unabashed, die-hard John Kerry supporter. Nothing would give you greater pleasure than seeing Kerry run Bush and Cheney out of the White House, except maybe seeing them dragged away in handcuffs.

Yep. Although Kerry wasn't my first choice, I voted for him.

Thursday, October 21, 2004
playlists for optimal writing performance
Following the ~profgrrrrl~ trend...

Although I currently have 1,658 tracks on my laptop, the following subset is what I tend to listen to while writing. My options are limited to the CDs that I've ripped, which means I've owned them in the last year. There are plenty of CDs that I owned and didn't rip, then sold and haven't re-purchased. In a perfect I-have-lots-of-money-to-buy-music world, there would probably be old Echo & the Bunnymen, old Cure, old Depeche Mode and old Cocteau Twins on this list. Someday.

Lists below are in alphabetical order, because ranking would be difficult.

In the "anything by...." category:
- Enya
- Fatboy Slim
- Kronos Quartet
- Massive Attack
- Portishead
- Texas
- Toad the Wet Sprocket
- Tricky

In the "soundtracks" category:
- Evita (Madonna/Antonio version)
- Romeo + Juliet (Leo/Clare version)
- Velvet Goldmine

In the "specific releases" category:
- DJ Spooky "Riddim Warfare"
- Doves "The Last Broadcast"
- Eagle-Eye Cherry "Desireless"
- EBTG "Temperamental", "Love Not Money", "Amplified Heart"
- Filter "Short Bus"
- David Gray "White Ladder"
- Guster "Lost and Gone Forever"
- Jane's Addiction "Nothing's Shocking"
- Luscious Jackson "Fever In Fever Out"
- Metallica / San Francisco Symphony "S&M"
- Moby "Play"
- Throwing Muses "Hunkpapa"
- Twilight Singers "Twilight"
- U2 "All that You Can't Leave Behind"

UPDATE: Upon hearing Green Day's "American Idiot" in my friend's car yesterday, I believe this will go into "writing music" rotation.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Great word. Well, great made-up word! (not by me; I read it in a comment.)

I prefer "neener, neener, neener" ... easier to say. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
local voter turnout, and howard dean
I heard the funniest commercial on the way to school today: Howard Dean plugging Yahoo! Local. In it, Dean reclaims the scream that was his downfall. Personally, I loved the scream. I thought it was great and energizing and all that. Then again, I was already a firm Dean supporter so all the negative publicity around it (which I still don't understand) wasn't going to affect me. Anyway, the MP3 is hilarious. In IOWA! In OHIO! Heh. It's funny.

In today's paper (and this is unrelated to Dean, although I would make the argument that if it weren't for his re-energizing the young folk and getting people interested in the democratic process again, we'd be in for four more years of hell) it was reported that voter registrations in Santa Clara and San Mateo county reached an all-time high. This will not change the outcome of the presidential race in California, but it does get people involved which is a very, very important thing. "The [Santa Clara County registrar's] office has signed up an average of 2,730 new voters a day since Oct. 1." Jeez, that's a ton of people. One youngster was quoted as saying that his mother made him sign up (good for her!), so he could vote a particular way on a local issue—and we have plenty around here. So, even if the 850K+ voters in Santa Clara County aren't going to affect the presidential race, they will be very important for local and state votes, and that's just as important—especially if it's local issues that make a voter aware of their power, for the first time.

Monday, October 18, 2004
some really cool halloween costumes
I'm not a big Halloween person, but I was when I was a kid. My mom is a super expert seamstress, and she made some kick-ass costumes for me when I was little. For example, I had a full-on Ewok costume. Seriously. Step-in and zip it up, head-to-toe fur. I had a big stick, too. If my parents could remember, day-to-day, how to use their scanner, I'd have them send a photo. But alas. Also, I was ET (the extraterrestrial). Again with the full-on (hotter than hell) costume. My mom made other costumes for us; I think my brother was Big Bird one year. Or maybe not, maybe that was someone else or some other large yellow thing. The point is, my mom was really good at it. (Note to my parents: do not leave a comment that says "you were Michael Jackson, too, don't you remember? With the jacket and the glove and the body paint?" Yeah. Don't do that.)

But as much as I loved my mom's costumes, these moms (and dads) kick everyone's butt in costume-making: Halloween costumes for kids in wheelchairs. One of our clients is The Bridge School (yes, the one with the concert) and as such I know all about how to make a punk rock costume out of empty ice cream cartons, how to turn a wheelchair into a bulldozer and so forth. Not that I have any use for these skills, but the photos are a hoot. These are some happy kids. (Check out the flower garden!)

list o' 200 things
I wasn't going to do this meme, but profgrrrrl did it and Rana did it and frog did it and yes, if you all jumped off a bridge I probably would, too. Ok, not really. But anyway...I said in profgrrrrl's comments that I'd only done 55, but it turns out that I've done 65. I've made comments in italics, and I have a sinking feeling that I'm going to regret doing so on a few, after my folks read this.

1. Bought everyone in the pub a drink
2. Swam with wild dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain
--->Depends on the defintion of "mountain"...I've hiked to the top of hills that are called "mountains" but technically aren't.
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
--->No, but I've been a passenger in one, and in a Maserati!
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula
--->hell no
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
--->That would have to be one hell of a large bathtub
8. Said "I love you" and meant it
9. Hugged a tree
10. Done a striptease
11. Bungee jumped
--->see #6
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long, and watched the sun rise
--->This happens at least two to three times a week.
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
--->Although "huge" is relative, I'm bolding this one because in my world, NLCS games count as "huge".
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
18. Grown and eaten my own vegetables
19. Touched an iceberg
20. Slept under the stars
--->Not unless "in an A-Frame at Girl Scout Camp" counts.
21. Changed a baby's diaper
22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
--->It was a short trip, but it wasn't tethered
23. Watched a meteor shower
24. Gotten drunk on champagne
--->I've had a lot of champagne in my time, but I don't tend to get drunk.
25. Given more than you can afford to charity
26. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
27. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
28. Had a food fight
29. Bet on a winning horse
30. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
31. Asked out a stranger
32. Had a snowball fight
33. Photocopied your bottom on the office photocopier
34. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
35. Held a lamb
--->I may have done this as a wee child, but I'm not sure.
36. Enacted a favorite fantasy
37. Taken a midnight skinny dip
38. Taken an ice cold bath
39. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
--->Berkeley folk are interesting.
40. Seen a total eclipse
41. Rode on a roller coaster
--->Anytime I get the chance!
42. Hit a home run
--->Softball counts.
43. Fit three weeks miraculously into three days
44. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
45. Adopted an accent for an entire day
46. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
--->Depends on which generation counts as "ancestor", and which side of the family.
47. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
48. Had two hard drives for your computer
49. Visited all 50 states
--->I'm missing ME, WA, OR, AK, HI
50. Loved your job for all accounts
--->Yes, but not the current one.
51. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
53. Had amazing friends
54. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
55. Watched wild whales
56. Stolen a sign
57. Backpacked in Europe
58. Taken a road-trip
--->I've driven coast-to-coast at least six times.
59. Rock climbing
60. Lied to foreign government's official in that country to avoid notice
61. Midnight walk on the beach
62. Sky diving
--->see #6
63. Visited Ireland
64. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
65. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
66. Visited Japan
67. Benchpressed your own weight
68. Milked a cow
69. Alphabetized your records
70. Pretended to be a superhero
71. Sung karaoke
72. Lounged around in bed all day
73. Posed nude in front of strangers
74. Scuba diving
75. Got it on to “Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye
76. Kissed in the rain
77. Played in the mud
78. Played in the rain
79. Gone to a drive-in theater
80. Done something you should regret, but don't regret it
81. Visited the Great Wall of China
82. Discovered that someone who's not supposed to have known about your blog has discovered your blog
83. Dropped Windows in favor of something better
--->Slackware Linux, Corel Linux, SuSE Linux
84. Started a business
--->Twice. Both failed for completely different reasons.
85. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
86. Toured ancient sites
87. Taken a martial arts class
88. Swordfought for the honor of a woman
89. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
90. Gotten married
91. Been in a movie
92. Crashed a party
93. Loved someone you shouldn't have
94. Kissed someone so passionately it made them dizzy
--->Don't know. Probably not.
95. Gotten divorced
96. Had sex at the office
97. Gone without food for 5 days
98. Made cookies from scratch
99. Won first prize in a costume contest
100. Rode a gondola in Venice
101. Gotten a tattoo
--->Thirteen Twelve times over (you'd think I'd know this).
102. Found that the texture of some materials can turn you on
103. Rafted the Snake River
104. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
105. Got flowers for no reason
106. Masturbated in a public place
107. Got so drunk you don't remember anything
108. Been addicted to some form of illegal drug
109. Performed on stage
110. Been to Las Vegas
--->No, and isn't that sad?
111. Recorded music
112. Eaten shark
113. Had a one-night stand
114. Gone to Thailand
115. Seen Siouxsie live
--->But I would have liked to, back in the day
116. Bought a house
117. Been in a combat zone
118. Buried one/both of your parents
119. Shaved or waxed your pubic hair off
120. Been on a cruise ship
121. Spoken more than one language fluently
122. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
123. Bounced a check
124. Performed in Rocky Horror
--->Not on stage (dressing up, in the audience, is "performing" to an extent).
125. Read - and understood - your credit report
--->I'm very good at this.
126. Raised children
127. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy
128. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
--->Not an entire tour, but several dates on the tour, sure.
129. Created and named your own constellation of stars
130. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
131. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
--->To the extent that none of them have done anything really significant, yes.
132. Called or written your Congress person
134. ...more than once?
135. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
136. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
137. Had an abortion or your female partner did
138. Had plastic surgery
139. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
140. Wrote articles for a large publication
--->In my field, such that it is.
141. Lost over 100 pounds
142. Held someone while they were having a flashback
143. Piloted an airplane
144. Petted a stingray
145. Broken someone's heart
146. Helped an animal give birth
147. Been fired or laid off from a job
148. Won money on a T.V. game show
149. Broken a bone
--->I've broken my arm and my hand, and cracked my kneecap and my eye socket.
150. Killed a human being
151. Gone on an African photo safari
152. Rode on a motorcycle
153. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
154. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
--->Boobies, although I took the rings out a few years ago.
155. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
--->I was in 4-H and shot air pistol and air rifle. It should count.
156. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
157. Rode a horse
--->Yep, owned one as a kid for awhile, even showed him. We were both terrible. I also was a trail guide for a summer (and blew my knee out) and another summer managed the horse-related stuff at a camp for blind folks.
158. Had major surgery
--->ACL reconstruction.
159. Had sex on a moving train
160. Had a snake as a pet see #6
161. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
162. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
163. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
--->Post-surgery, drug-induced.
164. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
165. Visited all 7 continents
166. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
167. Eaten kangaroo meat
168. Fallen in love at an ancient Mayan burial ground
169. Been a sperm or egg donor
170. Eaten sushi
--->Every chance I get.
171. Had your picture in the newspaper
172. Had 2 (or more) healthy romantic relationships for over a year in your lifetime
173. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
174. Gotten someone fired for their actions
175. Gone back to school
176. Parasailed
--->see #6
177. Changed your name
178. Petted a cockroach
179. Eaten fried green tomatoes
180. Read The Iliad
181. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
182. Dined in a restaurant and stolen silverware, plates, cups because your apartment needed them
183. ...and gotten 86'ed from the restaurant because you did it so many times, they figured out it was you
184. Taught yourself an art from scratch
185. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
186. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
187. Skipped all your school reunions
188. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
189. Been elected to public office
190. Written your own computer language
191. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
192. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
193. Built your own PC from parts
--->I've built probably five or six desktops and both my rackmount servers are hand-built.
194. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
195. Had a booth at a street fair
196. Dyed your hair
197. Been a DJ
198. Found out someone was going to dump you via Blogger
199. Written your own role playing game
200. Been arrested

Sunday, October 17, 2004
update on my class
I'm officially two weeks into teaching my class, Databases and Dynamic Web Design, at "Two weeks into" a completely open-ended gig, of course—it's all about asynchronous learning, so I have people who started on day 1, some who just started a few days ago, some who have registered but haven't done anything yet, some who are working through Lesson 0, some through Lesson 1, some through Lesson 2, etc. As time goes on, I'll always have some students just starting the course, some just finishing it, and probably a bunch right in the middle. Students have up to three (sometimes six) months to finish a course; my course is six lessons long. You could get through it in a week if you had nothing else to do, but I'd imagine six weeks would be average time-to-completion, maybe eight. Depends on the person, of course. I do, however, hold the distinction for having the "longest" class at Sessions—150 pages, printed. I'm proud of that.

I have 14 students now: 10 women and 4 men. They are from 9 different states (MI, WA, NJ, MD, IL, PA, SC, MS, GA). Puerto Rico, Belize and Yemen are also represented. Yemen! (and for that matter, Belize!) Sometimes I forget how useful the Internet can be...this reminds me.

At the beginning of the class, I was worried that stereotypes were coming true: boys good at computers, girls not so good. While the two "best" students I have are men, the women are working through lessons as well. I have one student who thinks their stuff is good and moves on/posts things to share without waiting for me to grade and respond. I have one student that is of the very dependent/"problem child" variety. Everyone else falls in the middle. I like the middle, because I have less that I feel compelled to write in my responses. :)

We (instructors) must respond to mail/grade assignments within 1-2 days. Since I'm always online, it's more like a same-day thing. I grade things before I start working in the morning, and after work in the evening. I know I am spending more time on my responses than I really "need" to, but this class isn't a graphic design class—there are right and wrong answers. For example, if someone submits a script and it's broken (doesn't work at all) or could break easily, then I'm going to make them do it again after I point out all things that are problematic. It's not a case of "I don't like green, do it again," because if that were the case, I'd have made everyone do the form exercise again because most of them are nothing I'd ever let a client see. :) So, if I were doing one of those "favorite words" memes, "issues" and "problematic" and "atypical" would be high on my list of oft-used words.

Saturday, October 16, 2004
NFL Predictions, Week 6
It's the sixth installment of the Julie v Curtis NFL picks extravaganza, in which Julie is currently leading (63% to 54%). However, Curtis said he's hell-bent on making up for last week's 43% results, so I had better watch out!


WEEKS 1-5 RESULTS45/7240/74

Thursday, October 14, 2004
i'm not an academic but i play one in the blogosphere
I was talking to Mel the other day (on the actual phone! no typing!) and we laughed at how I've managed to get myself on the blogrolls of a bunch of academic folks. Of course, she lists me appropriately at the bottom of her blogroll, despite the fact we've known each other for ages. Harumph. :) Heck, George Williams even included me in a post about new academic blogs. I protested, not because I don't want to be in the club, but because I feel I'm terribly unqualified. I said, in a comment on his site, "I am just a geek who blogs, and I happen to go to school. The folks [on his list of new blogs] are true academics, who muse on scholarly things. I'm only a random person with a computer who happens to use words like 'lest' and struggles with reading Middlemarch." All of that true, except I'm no longer struggling with Middlemarch (I like it, but just a little; it's still a terribly long book that makes me sleepy). But I'm still in his blogroll and I read his blog every day...and those of many academic bloggers. In fact, my blogroll is 35% academic. Who knew? I just like you people more than others.

It's not that I'm posing as an academic—I hope no one thinks I am. Of all the professions in all the land, academics would have been my chosen field if a) I had better prepared myself as an undergrad and b) didn't get myself into lots of debt as a youngster. It's more the former than the latter; when I went to grad school the first time around, a billion years ago and for about six weeks, I was completely unprepared, academically. (Note: in reading academic blogs, hearing about current students and hearing stories by now-academics of things they did when they were in grad school, I think that my feelings of being unprepared were self-made and in fact I would have done fine. But I didn't think that that at the time!) It's neither here nor there; I went off and did something else. But I've always had a great respect for educators, and in general it's these types of folks that I'd much prefer to spend time with...and that includes blog-reading.

Links remotely related to my profession, such that it is and such that I pretty much despise, only account for 10% of the links here. If you didn't know me, you'd probably never know that I work in web app and db design and development. I was going to add the clause "because I don't exude geekiness" but then I remembered that I tend to jump into the commenting fray when it comes to template issues and geeky jargon, and I do so love I think maybe I do exude a little geekiness. That's ok.

But seriously...I just wanted to clear up any misconceptions for the five of you who read this: I'm not an academic, but if you still want to hang out and chat, that's cool!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
my first international student from Yemen. That's pretty darn international.

i submitted a book proposal...
So after I sent my last author-reviewed chapters back to my editor, for STY PMA AiO, 2e (acronyms are my friend), she said (and I love her for this) "what's next?" I said, "What's been bandied about but doesn't have an author attached to it?" (because that's how I ended up writing the Plone book) She didn't list anything terribly interesting, or that I thought would sell, so I said, "how about this blogging book..."

That's how I ended up writing a proposal for Teach Yourself Blogging in 10 Minutes, and no, I don't think up the titles when they're part of a series like this. Basically, I proposed a book that would serve as a lightweight reference guide to all things blog-related, from getting started with understanding the concept of blogging, to maintaining a blog utilizing a custom template, comments, trackbacks, photos, "blogrolls" and more. Because part of maintaining a blog is the understanding the basics of HTML and CSS, brief primers on these subjects would be included as well.

While the book would be conceptually platform-independent, readers who are new to blogging would be shown how to get started using Blogger; it wouldn't be a guide to using Blogger (they have their own documentation) but with a goal of getting a user up and running in a few minutes, Blogger is the way to go (and we all know how much I like Google). Later in the book, other blogging platforms would be discussed, like LiveJournal, TypePad, Moveable Type, etc. as well as some of the benefits and pitfalls of maintaining an installation of blogging software on your own server.

The ultimate purpose of the book, as part of the 10 minutes series, would be to provide the reader with easily-digestible, concise lessons for all of the tools and tasks that make up the art of "blogging". While somewhat linear in design, the reader would be able to (and should want to) refer back to any lesson in the book, at any time, as needed.

Sure, there's competition out there, which I appropriately identified, but I also identified a selling point that I care about—the ability, because of its size and price (books in this series run about 225pp and eleven bucks at Amazon), for this book to take the place of the tutorials and other handouts that profs have to make for students, when using blogs in the classroom. Make them buy the darn book. :)

That is...if my proposal passes muster. Sams hasn't turned me down yet, but this is a little out there....but my books sell well for them and I haven't managed to burn any bridges, so I think there's a chance.

going back to google
When I was at Google the other day, being the gregarious (opportunistic) person that I am I told the project coordinator, "Hey, if you ever need testers for anything, just holler because I'm always available." I may have even done the double-handed pistol shot hand signal and winked, I'm not sure. (No, I didn't.) Anyway, I'm going back on Monday and this time I will remember not to bring my own beverage. Hey, if I can't afford to buy their stock, I'm at least going to take advantage of their beverages. If I weren't a fat slob, I'd take advantage of the bulk snacks, but alas.

I have no idea what I'll be lecturing about testing, but I'm sure it will be cool. I didn't even ask!

women, men, coaching...a response
This was originally intended as a comment to Hugo's post "Women, men, coaching" but as you can see it got really long and I didn't want to take over the poor man's comments.

First, I had to pick a few nits with something he wrote, which are completely unrelated to his point but I am compelled to do it. Anne Donovan wasn't the first female head coach of a professional championship team, because Marcia McDermott coached the 2002 WUSA champions, the Carolina Courage. Hey, it was a professional league, they had tons of money (that they spent inappropriately), so it should count. I didn't check other leagues' history, so I'm not saying that McDermott was the first, just that Donovan wasn't. :) Also, to the "recent success in amateur athletics" point, as someone in the "I Hate UConn" camp, I could cite plenty of numbers regarding the prevalence of female coaches of D-I basketball champions (and consistent top-25 programs) but I'll spare you all from that.

But to Hugo's question: "Should the sex of the head coach matter in women's athletics?" my answer is "of course not—hire whomever is most qualified," and that goes for both men's and women's teams. When Ashley McElhiney was hired to coach the ABA team, the Nashville Rhythm, I was suitably disgusted not because she's a woman (I am, too!), but because she has no coaching experience at all, let alone coaching men. Stephanie Ready, however, had D-I men's coaching experience and thus I had no objections to her being named head coach of the NBDL Greenville Groove. There are more female assistants for men's D-I teams than people think, and that's not to mention the number of successful female ADs around. I have the same requirements for men coaching women. If they're good coaches, and understand that there's a difference between coaching men and coaching women, then I don't care if they're male. I also don't think anyone would suggest Bill Laimbeer "tried and failed" before ending up coaching the Detroit Shock to last year's WNBA championship. :) But I do think that "we know it's a serious sport because a man coaches it!" does play a part, at least in the selection of WNBA coaches...what with their inability to market summer-league basketball and all.

I don't agree with the NCAA "encouraging" institutions to hire women for women's teams. If there's a qualified female candidate, great. Just as Hugo said, "women coaches clearly have the talent to lead," and there are plenty of them out there, who should get the jobs that they are qualified for. Gaining these coaching skills does start early, again as Hugo suggested, and that's where the "encouragement" should be. How many male coaches worked their way through the junior high, high school and college ranks before landing a pro gig? A ton.

I've known my fair share of the more well-known professional female athletes, and a particular basketball player and myself were talking about this very subject one day. She, having played the sport since she was a wee lass and having won a few championships and gold medals at various levels, expressed regret/sadness/bad feeling over her male coach having been fired. He was the coach who had a style that she preferred over all others. His directness, lack of coddling, analytical style—things that are generally "masculine" traits—are what she felt made him a better coach than many of her others, and was something that she missed when he was axed. Of course, he was axed because as a whole the team did not respond to this style, which goes back to the differences between coaching men and coaching women, and that the coach, regardless of gender, absolutely must know how that works and be willing to change their style if necessary.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004
back from my trip to google
I always enjoy a trip to Google. I imagine that my boss doesn't like it when I go, because she knows that Google is the number one place that I would like to work (if I didn't work for her). I can't tell you anything about the contents of the usability study, but it was Blogger-related and the prototype looked neat. It's was a one-on-one study, me and a dude who walked me through a script and basically ended up taking notes on my blogging-spew. Luckily for him, everything was recorded, because his handwriting is as crappy as mine. :)

Google is very colorful—it's not just their logo. Primary colors all through the buildings, the furniture, it's just a very nice place. The people I chat with are always really nice (no, I don't think they'd let the surly ones talk to the public, but still) and there's just a general sense of happiness there. I'm sure, like any company, people are unhappy...that's just human nature. But each building has free drinks (water, juice, soda, coffee, etc), free food (bins of bulk snacks), and this particular building had a mini-fleet of Segways (3, I think). Good times!

completely random post about printer ink
Anyone who has a printer knows that printer ink is terribly expensive, the recycled kind never really works and doesn't have the greatest life span, and if you work in an office/go to school you really try to print "important" stuff on someone else's nice laserjet printer. Me too. But at home I have an Epson 777 color printer (not some expensive thing, it's about three years old) and I dutifully replace the black ink cartridge ($25+ at Office Whatever) and color ink cartridge ($27+ at Office Whatever) when I've used them up. But I don't pay those prices.

I don't know about you, but those "cheap ink!" spam mails and what not, which lead to crappy-looking web sites that scream "Do NOT provide your credit card number, you idiot! Are you nuts?" well, I see those and I don't mind paying sixty bucks for new ink. But a few years ago I bought some ink cartridges off an eBay merchant (I'm a big fan of eBay, my feedback rating is 1540!) for really cheap: $8 for black, $9 for color. You know what? They're absolutely fine.

So, if you have an Epson, HP or Canon printer and need ink, I recommend Ink Kingdom, which appears just to be some fellow out of Salt Lake City, but I've never had a bad experience and I've probably bought ink ten or fifteen times from him in the last few years. Ignore the crappy web site, it is actually secure.

No, I don't get a kickback, I just like to pass on tips about fine, cheap stuff!

Monday, October 11, 2004
blogger usability study
One of the good things about living in Silicon Valley (there aren't many, for me) is that when Google says "we're doing a usability study for XYZ," I always sign up and usually get called. So tomorrow I'll be hanging out at Google for an hour, doing the Blogger usability study that was mentioned on the Blogger main page recently.

I won't be able to tell you anything about it, probably (NDAs and all), but if I can, I will.

Saturday, October 09, 2004
NFL Predictions, Week 5
Here we have the fifth installment of the Julie v Curtis NFL picks extravaganza, in which Julie is currently leading (60% to 57%). However, Curtis is much more consistent—he's picked 57% winners every week, whereas I sometimes pick like crap, then pick really well, and it all evens out.


WEEKS 1-4 RESULTS35/5834/60

kerry 1, bush 0

kerry 1, bush 0

originally uploaded by jcmeloni

I vote as a permanent absentee, and the ballot arrived in today's mail.

I almost tripped over myself on the way inside to fill it out.

Kerry 1, Bush 0.

debate #2 "liveblogging"
I'm not a regular Wonkette reader, but her Town Hall Debate: Sort of Half-Assed Live Blogging post is pretty darn funny. I watched about five minutes of the debate because listening to Bush for longer than that make me really, really angry. CheekyProf has a good synopsis of some of the things that were apparent (and annoying) to me (even in my cold-medicine-induced-stupor). There's a part of me that wishes I had been awake enough to follow the whole Dred Scott reference, but then again, there's a part of me (the part that doesn't like to get riled up) that is very glad I was asleep.

Thursday, October 07, 2004
i have EIGHT students now
It's all very exciting, my class. I've even had to critique and grade things. Whoo! I want the students to check their mail and do their lessons, so I have things to do (even if it's just answering questions and what not). Three of the eight have submitted assignments; one person is an overachiever, one didn't read the exercise correctly and I asked for a re-do. I also then made changes to the exercise text, to clarify my instructions. I am very pleased that I can shoot over a text change and it gets done in like an hour. I mean, that's service that we (where I work) provide, and most people don't. So it's nice.

Yay, teaching! (sort of)

I'm three movies behind!
Damn. Still haven't seen Shaun of the Dead, The Motorcycle Diaries has also been out for a few weeks, and I [heart] Huckabees opens tomorrow. I liked it better when I was broke and didn't see movies. Now that I have a wee bit of extra cash, I remember how much I like movies and just don't have the time to go see them all. These are just the three in my "must see" list. There are plenty of others that I want to see, like Team America: World Police and like any of the other bazillion films featuring Jude Law, which are out soon. Oh, and The Grudge...and if I'm really trying to procrastinate, A Dirty Shame, although I hear it's not very good (and I hate Johnny Knoxville almost as much as I love John Waters, so it's a wash).

more on group work
In Org. Change & Design class, I've fired my entire group. Ok, not really. I did send them all a message saying "You're all fired" but I can't really fire them so it was sort of a joke...but I would fire them if I could. On Tuesday the 5th, each person was supposed to provide to me (writing/compiler person that I am) their answers to questions posed at the end of their assigned chapter. Each person had one chapter to work with, and we're talking at most a 250 word answer. On Monday, one fellow emailed me and said that he wouldn't get getting his response to me this week. That's fine; we wrote in our team contract that saying so ahead of time was ok, and not to be more than a week late. But the other four people didn't even reply. Two of them weren't in class on Tuesday. The other two looked at me like I was from Mars, when I mentioned it. So, now we're going to be a week off schedule, and most of these folks don't seem like the type to make up the time.

Also in that class, my case-writing partner and I have two cases due today. He was going to write the first half, and I was going to do the second half (like we've done before). I waited, and waited and waited....gave him until midnight...nothing. The class is at 7:30am. So, I got up around 2am, and now I'm writing the cases myself. No, his name will not be on them. Thankfully, the prof allows us to turn them in, written only by one person, if we have a slacker partner.

In my Bus. Systems & Policy class, we got our second cases handed back, and we managed one more point than before. They were all very happy and couldn't understand why, while I was pleased that we improved by one point, still stressed that we only got a 20/25 and that's a B-, and we need to do better.

Off to case-writing....

UPDATE My case-writing partner, all he said was "oh, sorry." Not "I'm sorry I didn't even call or email you to tell you I wasn't going to do my part," just "sorry." I told him he was fired, and meant it!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004
i won't be voting for him, but...
According to Rum & Monkey's Election Test:

I'm David Cobb!
Which Presidential Candidate Are You?
Rung from Rum and Monkey's very own liberty bell.

Probably if I were knowledgable about the Green platform, I'd be Green. But this is an election to oust Bush (although I don't really have issues with Kerry) and a third-party vote won't help that cause.

which world is mine?
I joked with someone that I'm undoubtedly one of the only folks on my campus ever to have taken both "Management Issues in High Tech Companies" (in which our exam last night included questions on boundary-spanning activities as a manager, elements of six sigma in quality processes AND p-channel metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors) and "The Victorian Age", in which we have already made it through Bleak House and half of Middlemarch.

Just now, I was trying to decide what music to play while working. I narrowed it down to Jane's Addiction vs. Kronos Quartet does Philip Glass. I went with the latter.

Next, I have to decide if I want to write my reading response essay to Helen Longino's "Values and Objectivity", or code an administrative tool for a client which will enable them to dump data from a particular application without asking us to do it for them. Admittedly, the latter will take much less time and will also produce more money, so I'll probably go with that.

Is it any wonder why I am still torn as to what to apply for next fall: MA in English or the MBA program?

(If anyone wants to push me one way or the other, feel free.)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004
today started out ok, got sucky
Got up really early (4am) to do some work regarding our client who bought another company. That was fine, we got all our work done and all was well. Then I came to school and found out that I absolutely bombed an exam (Org Change & Design). C-minus on a curve, bombing. I don't tend to do that (my Modern Poetry class in 1991, and my Fundamentals of Operations Management class in 2003 notwithstanding) and I don't like it. I really don't like it when I actually studied and tried hard, and thought I did fine. By "fine" I mean "at least a B", because it's a rare day when I get a good grade on an exam that is half multiple choice. But I just biffed this one. In this class, there are three exams plus the final. The final is optional, you use it to replace your lowest exam grade. In this same sort of class last semester (same prof), I didn't take the final. I will be taking the final in this class, unless I absolutely kick serious butt on the remaining exams. Not impossible, but also not likely.

Just a real bummer. I have an exam tonight in another class, and I am hoping not to carry the bad feelings about this grade into the class tonight. It'll be difficult enough (half managerial questions, which is fine, but half semiconductor-related information) without the stress of already having been a sucky student at some point in the day.

Monday, October 04, 2004
it's nearly election time!
Inspired by Hugo's completed ballot of California issues, I went ahead and wrote down my picks as well. (Picks, like it's football or horse racing. VOTES! I meant votes.) With the exception of our local districts, and two propositions, we're boring-ly similar:

President: John Kerry, Democrat
Senate: Barbara Boxer, Democrat
Congress, CA 16th district: Zoe Lofgren, Democrat
CA State Senate, 13th district: Elaine Alquist, Democrat
CA State Assembly, 23rd district: Joe Coto, Democrat

(Oh look, I'm a Democrat.)

California Propositions:
1A (Protection of Local Gov't Resources) Yes
59 (Public Records, Open Meetings) Yes
60 (Election Rights of Political Parties) Yes
60A (Sale of Surplus Property) Yes
61 (Children's Hospital Projects) Yes
62 (Elections/Primaries) No
63 (Mental Health Services Expansion) Yes
64 (Limits on Private Enforcement of Unfair Business Competition Laws) No
65 (Local Government Funds, Revenues, State Mandates) No
66 (Limitations on Three Strikes Law, Lengthen Sex Crimes Punishment) Yes
67 (Emergency Medical Services Funding) Yes
68 (Non-Tribal Gaming Expansion) No
69 (DNA Sample Collection) Yes
70 (Tribal Gaming Compacts) No
71 (Stem Cell Research) Yes
72 (Health Care Coverage Requirements) Yes

Hugo and I differ on Propositions 69 and 71. I did not waver on Prop 69, but I did on Prop 71. I have no doubt as to the medical benefits of stem cell research, and I have no moral issues with it. My problem is with the $3B bond it calls for, and California already has significant financial issues. However, I still went with "yes" because of the medical benefits that stem cell research will provide, and if it means I have to pay X amount more per year in taxes, so be it. I already pay a ton of taxes, but when it comes to health care, medical research, education or children, I'll forego a few movies per year and pay that much more in taxes.

SpaceShipOne google logo
Good job!

get your Elizabethan insults here!
Inspired by greengrl's link to a page of elizabethan insults, which contains the text of a ten-year-old e-mail (who says this stuff doesn't stick around?), I used my vast programming skills to make your very own....

Elizabethan Insults Generator!

Whoo! I'm kidding, of course, about the vast programming skills. While I do indeed have some, this required nothing more than some shuffle()-ing and some rand()-ing. Enjoy, thou gorbellied flap-mouthed boar-pig! (kidding. I like you. I really do.)

SpaceShipOne takes the X prize!
I don't have anything more to add besides "how very, very cool!" but Dan Gillmor says it's "A wonderful day for space buffs, and humanity. People will soon leave this planet, to live permanently in space and on other worlds, and this achievement is one huge step along that path." That's why he gets paid to write columns and I just say things like "cool!" a lot.

Sunday, October 03, 2004
I got off my butt and updated my web site
Not this one, this is just a blog. :) Rather, the site for my books: The name started as a joke, because when I wrote my first book, five years ago, I wrote the "antithesis of a programming book"—a short one. Over the years, they've gotten longer—Sams Teach Yourself PHP, MySQL and Apache All-in-One (2e) is something like 675 pages. But I got back to my "write short books" roots, because the Plone book is less than 300 pages. Yay.

Anyway, the site is blue and boxy. That's about the limit of my design skills. In fact, I wouldn't even have the blue if it didn't already exist in the bug. Our creative director has been very busy for the last....year....and I let her off the "please will you help me?" hook. Lucky her!

this is why SJSU should be I-AA
We should be I-AA solely because we lost to SMU, but that's beside the point. We lost $500K on the annual "invite the black college with the great marching band to come play football becuase they'll bring the band, we'll sell out, and that game will help our average attendance which we need to have in order to stay Div I" game. This is after a year of budget cuts that saw the WRITING CENTER get cut. The Writing Center, which was in the English Dept but served the entire community of 25K+ undergrads, many, MANY of whom are ESL students or other students which desperately need the Writing Center, cost $100K per year. It cost one-fifth of what the school lost on a game meant to provide income and an attendance boost (it didn't).

I am a huge fan of athletics, and I believe they are very important to colleges and universities. But I am not a big fan of sucking money away from other parts of the university in order to remain Div I-A. Last night, the football team played to a 70-63 win over Rice, which is all well and a crowd of 4,000. Four thousand is significantly less than the 10,000 average needed by the NCAA to remain D-I.

One of the arguments is that if football drops to D-IAA or D-II, that they'll have to drop out of the WAC and go to something like the Big Sky, and they'll have to drop some other sports, including some women's sports, to remain Title IX compliant. To this I say...."and? what's the problem?" I agree that football is much more important to a university from a revenue and marketing standpoint than gymnastics—not to take anything away from the gymnasts themselves who I'm sure are fine people in addition to being fine athletes—so come on! Drop down, realign, cut the sports you need to cut, remain Title IX compliant, and move on. What's worse—being the laughingstock of D-I football, or having to drop down like UC Davis, Sac State, etc., WIN, and not cost the school other important resources?

Friday, October 01, 2004
I AM officially a teacher
Today is the first day of availability for the course I designed and teach. I say "teach" and not "will teach should someone sign up for it" because I have students! Three, in fact. I am hopeful that more will follow. :)

I had enough nervousness surrounding my response to the first exercise dropoff by a student...I don't know how you people handle it AND decide what to wear. I'm still wearing the same jeans I wore last night.

so, Middlemarch...
I had started to re-read Middlemarch on my own, then started this Vic Lit class and thus had an excuse to put it down until required to pick it back up again. Well, this was the week to pick it back up again. We had to read the first ~400 pages for last night's class. I read about 300 (it was a busy week) and came to the conclusion, in Book II, that it doesn't suck. !!??!!

Like I said, this has been a busy week. It's the end of a quarter, which means we often have extra work for clients who have NBOs and have forgotten to get the ball rolling...or something along those lines. Plus, finishing the AR on a book, writing a proposal for another (still doing that...), finishing up edits for my course lessons, and oh yeah, six classes. Anyway, I actually thought about not going to class last night (I'd rather not go to a class than sit in one while sleepy and not contributing) but we only have two weeks to discuss Middlemarch (I can't abbreviate that as "MM" because to me, "MM" stands for Michelle Malone and I'd confuse myself). If I skipped the class, I'd never hear the end of it from a certain person (we'll just call her Mel).

Anyway, I walked into class about 15 minutes early, and four people were already in there discussing the book, loudly and with great animation. I just stood there, not awake enough to jump in, concerned that I actually wanted to jump in (where the hell did that come from?), realized that I had to go to the bathroom and still couldn't leave. I guess the contrast with my other classes just struck me dumb right then and know, the b-school classes where the people don't do the reading, don't apply any shreds of intellect they might possess, but who will get a job and at the very lowest pay scale will make more money than anyone studying for an English degree probably ever will. I hate that.

Oh, and my contribution to the class was this: "hoo-ha".

We were discussing Casaubon, and how poor Dorothea didn't get any. Then the Prof was talking about Ruskin and how certain parts of the female anatomy just threw him for a loop. Our Prof is pretty funny, for in a class where the mean age is probably 35, he was attempting to find a delicate way to describe certain nether regions. He said something along the lines of "you don't see it in Greek statues, is that good enough?" The whole room is just blank stares; I'm not sure if people didn't get what he was saying, or didn't want to get what he was saying....but the really old guy next to me says "could you be more specific?" Seriously. So the prof got sort of red-faced and hemmed and hawed and finally I said "just call it a hoo-ha" (points if you get the movie reference) and everyone laughed and we moved on.

things I've learned when playing Star Wars: Battlefront
First of all, I'm not very good, and I'm not using any hints or cheats (yet). I'm sure I'll be much better when I do...

- Your teammates don't like it when you shoot them in the back.
- Even when the Wookies are fighting with you, they always look a little sketchy...
- If you run the completely opposite direction as your teammates, one of them will run after you and give you this look like "are you insane, stupid or just a coward?" and say "follow me" as a gentle reminder that you are, indeed, the weakest link.
- Your teammates don't like it when you step in front of their shot, especially when you're playing in safe mode and it doesn't kill you.
- I do much, much better playing as a member of the Alliance, than when I'm a stormtrooper or a battle droid. I just don't have it in me to shoot at the rebels!
- Who the hell puts Darth Vader in Level 3, easy mode? Dude just wanders around Hoth, slaughtering people. It's so sad, watching the scrolling "Darth Vader has killed [insert teammate here]" and knowing that you're next, and your blaster isn't going to do jack.
- Did I mention that teammates don't dig the friendly fire? Anyone wonder why I don't play multiplayer online? Didn't think so.

get your archive on...
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job / books / new blog

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